Vegetable Bolognese with Pasta

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Well, I will tell you what- don’t decide you want to start a new hobby like a blog and then go out two weeks later and buy a new house!  My husband and I bought a wonderful fixer upper and even though we won’t close on the house until January due to having a renovation type mortgage loan, it has already been a lot of work and stress!  I can’t wait until we have a beautiful new house to live in, but my oh my it is time consuming.  So, I definitely haven’t been cooking as many new recipes as I have wanted.  I have been cooking what works and eating more take out than usual.  Missing too many meals from being too busy, though unfortunately that is not unusual with my job.  One of the big problems is that I will not eat all day and then come home and realize I am starving and not want to take an hour to cook something, just eating whatever is available instead.

I have had the time in the last few weeks to make this delicious vegetable bolognese sauce twice.  I recently had to go to Las Vegas for a conference, and while I was there I had this recipe at Giada De Laurentiis’ restuarant.  It was so good I looked it up and made it at home.  The first time did not turn out well.  As you will see this recipe is based quite heavily on mushrooms- which I really don’t care for.  They are too “meaty” in their flavor profile for me.  So I have altered this recipe quite a bit to downplay that flavor while making it more tomato based.  It still has the same amount of mushrooms and veggies in it and is extremely hearty.

Ingredients

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (hit up your specialist grocery for these- DLM in Dayton, folks- they usually hang above the fresh veggies in small plastic baggies)

6 carrots washed and roughly chopped

1 white onion peeled and large chopped

1 red bell pepper roughly chopped

1 handful of walnuts

6 cloves garlic or 1 tablespoon pre-minced garlic (I do not have time I have decided to spend my whole life peeling and mincing garlic!)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 handful each of fresh thyme, oregano and basil (generous handfuls, finely minced)

Salt and pepper to taste

To taste crushed red pepper (I added about 2 tablespoons)

6 ounces button mushrooms

1 can of tomato paste

1 can of stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup of red wine

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1 pound pasta, rigatoni or spiral pasta that will hold sauce well

Parmesan cheese for topping, to taste

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Directions

Start by placing your dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl with hot water to rehydrate them.  Leave them sitting while you do other work.

Place a large pot on the stove and get your olive oil warming. Then place your chopped veg- carrot, onion, bell pepper, garlic- into the food processor with the walnuts.  Pulse briefly for about 5 seconds.  My food processor is super strong so I very briefly pulsed them.  You want it to be finely chopped but still chunky.  Do not pulse too long or it will turn into a mush-like baby food consistency.  I made this mistake the first time I made this recipe.  Not very appetizing. This picture is how they should appear.image

Dump them into the pot.  Stir and let warm for about 5 minutes.Add in your herbs, salt, pepper, CRP and let cook another 2-3 minutes.  Do not let get to boiling, just simmer.  Start a pot for your pasta to boil.

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While that is ongoing dump the liquid from your mushrooms out and put the mushrooms themselves into the food processor.  Add in the button mushrooms and the tomato paste.  Add a splash of water.  Pulse for about 5-10 seconds.  Again until finely chopped but still chunky.  This will also then be dumped into the pot and stirred to mix together.  Let simmer for a few minutes and while it is doing so, toss your can of stewed tomatoes into the food processor.  Stir those into the pot as well as the red wine.  Bring the temp up to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Cook your pasta during this time.

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As the final step add in the mascarpone cheese to the sauce and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so while the pasta is finishing.  Then meld the pasta and sauce together.  Add a splash of the pasta water if needed. Top with Parmesan cheese and basil.

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As I said before this dish is very filling.  It is also a great way to get veggies in without really knowing it (why would someone want that???) since they are mixed into the sauce.  Once I added more tomato flavor to this it made it more appetizing to me as someone who just can’t get past a heavy mushroom flavor- even though there are still 7 ounces of mushrooms in the dish.  I have to give myself credit on this one- the atmosphere in the posh Giada dining room may have outdone my living room, but the flavor of the dish was top notch both places.

** Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/rigatoni-with-vegetable-bolognese-recipe.html

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