This recipe is a great example of how farmers deal with seasonality of ingredients and the enormous amount of work demanded by a functioning farm: food has to be nutritious to provide energy and comfort to a body that has spent hours working in the fields, but it also has to deliver flavor and happiness to make it all worth it.
Seasonality also imposes ingredients according to the calendar, as a real farmer tends to source all his food from the land he works on throughout the year. Last but not least some ingredients might simply end up out of stock, a hunting day might not go as planned, or (which happened a lot in the old days) farmers might simply not have the economic means to source specific and much desired ingredients.
One of the recipes I have learned when I was young reflects appropriately situations like these: what if I felt like dining on a scrumptious and rich meat sauce, but had no meat available? Farmers thought me how to “fake” it!
This sauce is called “The Fake Sauce” because it has the same ingredients of a meat sauce… but in fact it is void of it. The traditional soffritto that we use in many sauces becomes here a main ingredient: celery and carrots are cut a little chunkier to give the sauce a “stewy” feel and a texture that departs from a traditional tomato sauce and tries to get as close as possible to the much beloved “Bolognese”.
What really distinguishes this recipe is the use of young wine, ingredients usually reserved to cook meat, used here to add roundness of flavor and intensity of color. Fake Sauce is good on pasta and exceptional on polenta, it also lands itself to become a base for more complex vegetable stews in case you decide to incorporate ingredients such as potatoes, peppers, zucchini or even cauliflower… again, depending on the season.