OMG I love spag bol. It conjures up the comforting the scent of mixed herbs and warm lovely kitchens; and back in the day it always seemed a bit way out and daring (back in my day that is!).
Grated parmesan sets it off gorgeously and it always feels like a friendly, sociable meal – all that communal shlurrping of spaghetti strands is a bonding experience.
Gently fry the onion, garlic and celery (GAK!) until the onion is slightly soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms and baby tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the red wine. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils and add the tomato purée, salt, pepper, sugar, herbs and pesto. Simmer gently for a further 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until al denté (keeping a bit of ‘bite’).
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tear in the basil, keeping a few leaves aside, and gently combine.
To serve, scatter over the reserved basil leaves and top with grated parmesan and more black pepper.
Lentils are rich in iron, folate and B vitamins. Folate is critical for brain and nervous system health and particularly so for developing embryos. B vits are key players in energy production and iron helps transport oxygen around the body.
They also provide protein and fibre and help to stabilise blood sugar. Lentils, like beans, are also a fantastic source of the little-discussed mineral, Molybdenum. Molybdenum plays an important role in nervous signalling and brain function, and in these days of high stress and of poor foods that degenerate the brain it’s vital to give the pathways a big helping hand.
Tomatoes are a brilliant source of vitamin C, which supports skin and connective tissue health as well as immunity and iron absorption. The biotin in tomatoes is good for controlling blood sugar.
I like my spaghetti like I like my women. All over my shirt.