Root vegetable and chestnut bolognese with bucatini and yeasted nut pesto

This comforting vegan bolognese recipe sees plenty of seasonal root vegetables blitzed up and slow-cooked with tomatoes and herbs, resulting in a delicious autumnal ragu. The dish is finished with a tasty yeasted hazelnut and sage pesto. This recipe makes enough bolognese to feed 8 people but you can freeze any leftovers.

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First published in 2021




Bolognese sauce


To serve


  • mincer
  • Food processor



Begin by making the sauce, as this can be done in advance. Preheat an oven to 120°C/100°C (fan)/gas mark ½


To make the sauce, peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and mince the remaining vegetables and chestnuts. If you do not have a mincer, chop the vegetables and then pulse them in batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Finely chop or grate the garlic


Add 100ml of the olive oil and all the vegetable oil to a large, heavy bottomed ovenproof pan with a lid and sweat the onion and garlic until soft, adding a good pinch of salt and some ground pepper. Add the minced vegetables, a couple of pinches of salt and cook over a high heat, stirring constantly for a good 7 to 8 minutes

  • 100ml of olive oil
  • 100ml of vegetable oil
  • salt

Add the tinned tomatoes and a splash of water along with the bay leaves, sage leaves and rosemary sprig. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and put into the oven to cook for 2 hours


Meanwhile, make the pesto. Crush or chop the toasted hazelnuts along with the pickled walnut, then combine both with the rest of the ingredients, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. You should end up with an oily pesto-style dressing. Keep to one side until ready to serve


After 2 hours, remove the sauce from the oven and allow to cool. Stir in the remaining olive oil, check the seasoning and add salt, pepper and perhaps a teaspoon of sugar if necessary. Remove the bay, sage leaves and rosemary. You will only need around half the sauce to serve 4 people, so put the remaining sauce in the freezer for another day


When ready to serve, bring a large pan full of at least 2 litres of well-salted water to the boil. Cook the bucatini for 1-2 minutes if fresh, or according to packet instructions if dried


Once the pasta has almost finished cooking and the pasta water has started to become starchy, carefully remove a small mugful of pasta water. Put the sauce back onto a medium heat in a large high-sided wok pan (roughly 150g finished sauce per portion of pasta). Add approximately half a mug (around 100ml) of the water to the sauce and swirl around to integrate, allowing it to simmer gently while the pasta finishes cooking


Add the drained bucatini to the sauce and cook together for a further minute until the sauce has enriched and coats the pasta. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, drizzled with the pesto dressing


First published in 2021

Phil Howard has always been a ‘chef’s chef’, quietly notching up years of service and influencing the industry immeasurably. After selling his iconic two Michelin-starred restaurant The Square to open Elystan Street in Chelsea, he has proved himself yet again to be one of the UK's brightest culinary talents.

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