Exactly a year ago I cooked for Brady for the first time. We had been dating for about a month and I wanted to cook something special so I made homemade bolognese. It was awesome, if do say so myself, and I am pretty sure that dish helped me win Brady over. There is definitely some truth to the saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
I wanted to make the bolognese for us last night but the recipe calls for three different kinds of meat - not exactly Lent friendly. I did some searching and came across a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for a vegetable bolognese that sounded delicious and got tons of reviews so I gave it a try. I thought the dish turned out great, very different from my original bolognese, but I loved that it was hearty and filling even though it was meat free.
** I linked my original bolognese recipe in case anyone is looking for a good classic bolognese recipe or has a man that they want to impress :)
Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese
** modified from Food Network, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I only used 1/2 ounce)
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
2 T. olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
5 ounces assorted mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and brown), stemmed and chopped
2 T. tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 pound whole wheat rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the 1 1/2 cups very hot water. Set aside and let the mushrooms soften.
Finely chop the carrots, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Place the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven and heat 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 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 sauce simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir just until the cheese is incorporated.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid (which while typing this I now realize we forgot to do). Toss the pasta with the sauce mixture. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid if necessary. Serve garnished with fresh Parmesan.