This limited-edition dish was created in collaboration with British food legend and friend of the business Prue Leith CBE & her niece Peta Leith. Inspired by their cookbook, The Vegetarian Kitchen, each recipe champions the freshest, seasonal vegetables, herbs and cheeses to celebrate the end of the summer season. Order one of our five Vegetarian Kitchen dishes to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the cookbook.
Tuscan ‘sugo finto’ literally translates to ‘fake sauce’ - the dish was the brainchild of resourceful Tuscan peasants, who sought to replicate the region's popular ragù without the unaffordable meat element. Similarly, this dish is otherwise known as ‘sugo scappato’, meaning ‘escaped sauce’. This particular moniker implies that something has ‘escaped’ the pot - revealing a linguistic playfulness so frequent in Italian cucina povera, or ‘poor cuisine’.
And it has been said this deceptive sauce is capable of fooling even the most staunch of carnivores. The ‘sugo finto’ begins, as with most iconic Italian dishes, with the ‘soffritto’, a term that denotes the aromatic sautéed vegetable base of a sauce. Here, however, the ‘soffritto’ is not merely designed to linger in the background of a bite. Instead, this vegetable blend is enhanced with herbs, tomatoes and a healthy splash of wine, and left to reduce into a rich and robust sauce, capable of contending with the heartiest of meat ragùs.
We pair our ‘sugo finto’ with thick strands of pici, a pasta shape also originating in Tuscany. We garnish this dish with fresh rocket, which lends a peppery bite, as well as a final sprinkling of pangrattato (breadcrumbs), otherwise known as ‘poor man’s Parmigiano’, to honour the cucina povera roots of this dish.