Vegetarian Bolognese over Rigatoni: Meatless Monday

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    I love making bolognese sauce but I hate the high fat and calorie content in the original version.  I’ve been looking for a version with more vegetables and less meat when I found a totally vegetarian version.  I was a little skeptical about carrots, onions, peppers, and mushrooms being thrown into the food processor before putting them in the sauce.  I thought that the sauce might be too smooth but it turned out wonderfully.
    The vegetables are only processed until they are finely chopped but not smooth.  Then the vegetables are mixed with red wine, herbs, and tomatoes.  The sauce ends up being chunky and flavorful.  If I didn’t know it was vegetarian I would have thought there was meat in it.  This is the perfect sauce to get the kids (or other picky eaters) to eat more vegetables. 

Vegetarian Bolognese over Rigatoni  (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil
2 t. dried thyme
1 t. fresh chopped oregano
2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
5 oz. assorted mushrooms, chopped
2 T. tomato paste
1 c. diced tomatoes in juice
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. red wine
1/2 c. ricotta cheese

1 lb. rigatoni pasta
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

1.  Put the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped but still chunky.

2.  Put the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

3.  Add the mushrooms and tomato paste to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in the hot water, tomatoes, and red wine.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for 15-20 mintues, stirring occasionally.

4.  Add in the ricotta cheese and stir until just combined.
5.  Cook the rigatoni according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and add to the vegetable bolognese.  Stir well to combine. 

6.  Put rigatoni on a plate, add the sauce, and top with Parmesan cheese.

This post linked to: 
Meatless Mondays, Making You Crave Mondays, Mangia Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays


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