I am making a vegetarian pasta alla genovese. The sauce is made by first browning sofrito and tough meats, then braising for several hours with an abundance of onions until those onions carmelize.
The flavor of the sauce comes from both the carmelization of the carbohydrates of the onions and the Maillard reaction of the meat proteins.
I am making it vegetarian, and I wondered what protein sources besides 'meat-alternatives' I might be able to brown for the sauce. I'm avoiding those because 1) I prefer to cook with whole foods and 2) the options available to me bring unwanted flavors or textures to this particular dishm
Could I, for example, use browned mozzarella as a source for the same 'roasted' flavors in the original dish? Would a sufficient amount of browned butter, in place of olive oil, work in the dish without overcooking?