Friday, May 13, 2011

Pasta Lentil Bolognese

This recipe became what I like to call... accidentally vegan. Translation: Laura forgot to add milk. It was delicious though, and it is nice to have a recipe that can be good with or without animal products.

The recipe comes from the April/May 2011 issue of Clean Eating Magazine. My in-laws gave us a subscription as a gift, and there's a lot of inspiration to be had by looking at all of their culinary creations. They describe what a bolognese sauce is with the recipe too, which is nice: Bolognese sauce is a rich ragout that simmers for hours, coaxing flavor from aromatic vegetables and texture from at least one form of meat. Our plant-based version honors it's roots with steady preparation (thankfully quicker than several hours!) that persuades sweet notes from caramelized vegetables and soft yet sturdy chew from meaty lentils. A splash of milk (OOPS) towards the end of an hour-long stovetop stay rounds out the zip of the tomato-based sauce.

Now, without further adieu, I give you Pasta Lentil Bolognese...

- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 small celery stalks, diced small
- 1 small fennel bulb, diced smal
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (I used one head of garlic instead)
- 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup lentils
- 28 ounces canned, diced/chopped tomatos
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp basil
- 8 ounces pasta
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

How To Cook It
1) In a large Dutch oven or saucepot, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, fennel, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until released water evaporates and brown bits begin to form on bottom of pot, about 15 minutes. Add vinegar and scrape any brown bits from bottom of pot as liquid evaporates. Stir in broth, 1 cup water, lentils, tomatoes, oregano, parsley, and basil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
3) Add milk to bolognese and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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