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- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 red, yellow or orange pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 200 millilitres water
- 401 grams tin of chopped tomatoes
- 250 grams mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Put the olive oil in a large saucepan and place it on a medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and when they start to sizzle and pop, add the onions, garlic and celery.
- Stir well to coat the vegetables with the oil and cook on a medium to low heat until they are soft and beginning to turn golden.
- Turn the heat back up to medium and add the finely chopped mushrooms and pepper, as well as the dried oregano and smoked paprika.
- Continue to cook this mixture on medium for 5-10 minutes, until it has visibly reduced in volume and concentrated in flavour.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, water, stock cube, balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and black pepper.
- Bring the pan to a simmer and let it blip away contentedly for 20-25 minutes, or until it has reached the consistency you desire.
- Serve with the pasta of your choice.