vegetable bolognese

Now if you know a thing or two about Italian cooking, you are probably thinking right now, “Oh, a recipe for that pasta sauce all loaded with meat.” Not in my house. That’s not how I roll. This is all vegetarian (sorry Kristin, it is loaded with mushrooms), and word to the wise, if you want to make this recipe you NEED a food processor, or you will spend the better half of eternity chopping veggies. However, it may be worth it.

1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms (that’s a lie, really any dried mushroom blend will do)
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces assorted mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and brown, or whatever you can find), stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine-one as good as you would drink
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan

Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups very hot water. Set aside and let the mushrooms soften.

Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse the vegetables until finely chopped but still chunky. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the porcini mushroom liquid. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, and tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the porcini mushroom liquid and red wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and stir just until the cheese is incorporated.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add to the vegetable mixture. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, if necessary, to moisten the sauce. Toss with Parmesan and serve.

Now don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and instructions, they are all available at the grocery store, and it really is super easy to make. And makes a TON (6-8 servings).

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