Ingredients, serves 4:
1 winter carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
200ml of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of finely chopped, dried porcini mushrooms
1 block of tofu
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 glass of white wine
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
½ a carton of garden cress
1. Fry the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in plenty of olive oil on a low heat until it is translucent but not brown. This should take around 15 minutes.
2. Crumble the tofu into the same pan and add the dried oregano. Turn the heat up high and allow the tofu to colour. Pour in the white wine.
3. Add the tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, the stock, star anise, cinnamon stick and herbs, except for the garden cress. Allow to simmer gently on a low heat for one and a half hours. Taste now and again and remove the cinnamon stick and star anise if the taste starts to become overpowering. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4. Cook the pasta and drain. Mix the pasta and the sauce immediately and stir through before serving. Sprinkle with the garden cress.
Food and wine paring
The pasta is spicy, herby and has a warming flavour due to the star anise and cinnamon. The flavours are a perfect match for those of the woody layering in the wine: vanilla, forest floor and a hint of caramel. The tannins in the wine are countered by the powerful sauce. The fresh fruit notes in the wine clean the palate and provide a refreshing finish.