Oh-so-creamy cannelini and fennel pasta sauce, 24p (VEGAN)

Softy softy creamy creamy garlicky sweet deliciousness... I'm a bit in love with this one...

Softy softy creamy creamy garlicky sweet deliciousness… I’m a bit in love with this one…

This recipe started life as an idea for a vegan white sauce for a future-lentil-lasagne (for new readers, I’m not a practising vegan, my wife-to-be has a pig restaurant, but a lot of my recipes happen to be vegan and I have a loyal core of vegan readers, so I wanted to make a conscious effort this year to cook at least as many vegan or easy-to-veganise recipes as I did meat ones, hence the recent flurry of pulses!). Anyway, I woke up this morning and started tinkering with a can of cannelinis, and ended up with something so soft and creamy and comforting that all it needs is a spoon over some warm pasta, and the future-lentil-lasagne will have to wait. And next time anyone asks where you get your protein from in a vegan diet, well, point them this way…

Serves 4 at 24p each*

1 large onion (200g approx), 13p
2-4 fat cloves of garlic, depending on how much of a fan you are, 7p
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, 4p
a pinch of salt, <1p
1x 400g can of cannelini beans (240g drained weight), 60p
¼ teaspoon (0.5g) of fennel seeds (not essential if they aren’t the sort of thing you have lying around but I’m a Big Fan of them as a storecupboard spice, a couple of little fennel seeds go a long long way), 1p
2 tbsp lemon juice, 6p
a few sprigs of parsley or herb of your choice, 3p

Peel and finely slice your onion and peel and mince (or finely chop) your garlic, and pop into a pan with the oil. Bring to a gentle heat, add a pinch of salt, the fennel seeds, and stir lovingly. There’s a lot of love going into this dish along the way, by the way, it’s got the subtle soothing nature of a risotto, so clear the decks and use it as a destressor while you stand and stir.

Drain and rinse the cannelini beans and toss into the pan, squeeze the lemon juice over the top, and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to soften the onions.

Add 200ml cold water and turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Reduce back down to a simmer, stir, and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. The cannelinis should start to break down and self-puree, thickening the sauce. Stir well and gradually add another 200ml water (you might not need all of it) until most of the cannelinis have broken down and you’re left with a soft, creamy, sweet, garlicky, comforting gorgeous sauce. Allow to cool, spoon into jars, label and pop in the fridge until dinner time. I’m putting one in the fridge and one in the freezer for a freebie dinner later in the week…

*Prices are worked out at Sainsburys because that’s where I currently shop, but things like carrots and onions are widely sold in many other places for similar prices. If you happen to find them ludicrously cheaper, please comment below as I’m sure my readers would love to know where the bargains are. Prices are also subject to change but are correct at the time of blogging. I worked them out like this: Basics onions 95p/1.5kg. Basics garlic 35p/2 bulbs. Sunflower oil £4/3l. Basics table salt 25p/750g. 400g tin of cannelini beans 60p. Fennel seeds £1/39g. Lemon juice 50p/250ml. Parsley 80p/28g.

Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MsJackMonroe

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