200ml/½ a cup of vegetable stockmade with 1 vegetable stock cube + 200ml (½ a cup) of boiled water
1large red bell pepper (capsicum)pith and seeds removed then roughly chopped
1 x 250gpack of puy lentils (1+¼ cups)
1 x 500g/ 17.6oz pack of gnocchi
1 x 150g ballof fresh mozzarella ( 1 x 8oz ball)torn or sliced into pieces
30g/ ⅓ of a cup of finely grated veggie parmesan + more for serving
½teaspoonsea saltdivided into two equal portions
½teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper
Fresh basil leaves for serving
Preheat the oven to 220C /200 fan /392F Add the oil to a large ovenproof sauté pan.Add the chopped onion with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and cook for 10 minutes. Once the onion is translucent add the chopped carrot, celery, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, half a level tablespoon of fennel seeds and a small pinch of red chilli flakes.Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you're using the wine add it now. Make sure the pan is hot enough so that the wine sizzles when it hits the pan. Turn up the heat to cook off some of the alcohol.
Once the wine has reduced quite a bit add the chopped red pepper cook for a minute or two then pour in one can of chopped tomatoes, pour ¼ of a cup of water into the empty can give t a little swirl then add that to the pan too.At the same time add 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce the remaining salt and the cracked black pepper. Stir well and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
Now add the lentils and the vegetable stock. Stir well and check the seasoning now.Add the gnocchi to the pan and stir it into the sauce making sure it is covered in sauce.
Spread the mozzarella and veggie parmesan over the top of the sauce and gnocchi then cover the pan loosely with tin foil.Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the mozzarella is golden and the sauce is thick.Leave to cool slightly before serving.Serve with extra grated veggie parmesan and some fresh basil leaves.
Gnocchi - I used store-bought fresh gnocchi, you can use the vacuum-packed gnocchi too if you prefer.
Lentils - Puy lentils are best for this recipe. I used pre-cooked lentils.
Wine - This is optional, but it does add great depth to the bolognese. If you are serving this to young children or pregnant women I would omit it.
Chilli flakes - also optional, I like a little bit of heat in my bolognese but if you prefer you can omit it and it will still taste great.
Stock - I made my stock with 1 vegetable stock cube and 200 ml of boiling water.
Pan - You will need an oven-proof pan or skillet to make this. My pan measures in at 25cm/10inches wide and 6 cm/2.5 inches deep. If you want to use a cast-iron skillet make sure it is well seasoned before making this dish, the tomato sauce will damage it if it's not well seasoned.
Freezing/storing/reheating - This dish is really best made fresh and eaten on when made. You can freeze it though if you wish. Don't add the cheese, leave the dish to cool then freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the dish in the fridge overnight then pop place in a preheated oven and cook until piping hot. Add the cheese and place under the grill to brown the cheese. Leftover can be stored in the fridge for 2 - 3 days and for best results reheat in the oven.
Nutritional Information - is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It is based on one serving of 4. It does not include any extra cheese for serving.
For US readers - I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy. For best results, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.