As a new mum, these days Ella Mills is all about meals that won’t be ruined if you turn your back for a moment.
She’s a big fan of recipes like this mushroom and walnut ragu, which "you don’t need to have strict timers on. When you’ve got a crawler trying to go for every electrical socket – that really, really helps," she adds with a laugh. "Anything that might burn if you don’t have your timer on perfectly for three minutes is a real no-go these days."
Mushroom and walnut ragu recipe
Serves: 4, with a little leftover
- 20g dried porcini mushrooms
- 250ml boiling water
- 100g walnuts
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- Olive oil
- 400g chestnut or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried rosemary
- 1 × 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1tbsp tomato purée
- 2tbsp tamari
- 1–2tbsp nutritional yeast
- 4 portions of pasta (about 80g per person)
- Salt and pepper
- Handful of chopped parsley, to serve
- Start by soaking the dried mushrooms. Put them into a bowl with the boiling water and leave for 20 minutes. Once soaked, drain well (but keep the liquid), then cut the mushrooms into small pieces.
- While the mushrooms are soaking, chop the walnuts into tiny pieces – they need to look like large breadcrumbs. Place them in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and toast for about five minutes, until golden, stirring every now and again. Once toasted, remove from the heat and spoon into a bowl. Place the frying pan back on the heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and celery to the frying pan, along with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook for five to 10 minutes, until soft.
- Add the fresh mushrooms and red pepper, with the thyme, oregano and rosemary, and cook for about five minutes, until soft.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, tamari and dried mushrooms with their water. Leave to simmer for 10–15 minutes – you want the ragu to be thick and have lost the excess liquid. Stir in the walnuts and nutritional yeast and leave them to cook in the sauce for a final five minutes.
- While the ragu is simmering, cook your pasta in a pan of boiling water, following the instructions on the packet. Drain well then stir into the ragu once both are ready. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy: Plant-based Deliciousness by Ella Mills, recipe photography by Nassima Rothacker, is published by Yellow Kite. Available now.