Ingredients

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
30g dried porcini mushrooms
250g mushrooms, sliced
½ cup chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup red wine
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
500ml vegetable or mushroom stock
100g parmesan with rind
175g green lentils

One of the longstanding favourites in our household was rich shin ragu served with pasta, a dish taught to Mum by our Italian neighbour. While you can never quite capture the unctuous quality that the bone adds to the sauce, this vegetarian version is nonetheless rich and tasty with strong umami flavours from the slow-cooked onions, mushrooms and parmesan, and the added richness of porcini.

I remember liking beef schnitzel as a small (and obviously very cheeky) kid, but my father likes to remind me of the time I informed my mother, “I don’t call this schnitzel, I call it shit-zel!”

Instructions

1.Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium to low heat.
2.Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
3.Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 10 minutes.
4.Soak the porcini in 150ml of warm water for 15 minutes.
5.Drain, reserving the liquid, chop the porcini roughly and set aside.
6.Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the onions along with the fresh mushrooms and parsley and cook for 15 minutes.
7.Add the garlic, cook for a minute then stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
8.Add the wine and bring to the boil, boil for 5 minutes then add the tomatoes and stock and bring back to the boil.
9.Cut the rind from the piece of parmesan about 1cm into the cheese and add the rind to the pan along with the lentils, ½ cup water and the reserved porcini.
10.Bring to the boil again, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked.
11.Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta and the remaining parmesan, grated.

Recipes & Food Styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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