Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese

I would like to preface this recipe with a statement. When I cook I never measure, and when I mess around with recipe's (like the one below) I am always trying to make it taste better, so I do it a little different each time.
I will add my additions and changes, but it does make a different outcome than Giada's. But I think that cooking should be an evolution, what may be great in L.A. may not work so well for Provo. So I make each recipe to match my mood, my climate and more often than not my wallet.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Additions courtesy of yours truly!
1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms I left these out,because the only place I could find them was williams and sonoma
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped also 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves sometimes I omit this completely, depending on mood.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves Basil was on sale when I first made this and I love it,
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves really you can't go wrong with any of these herbs.
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces assorted mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and brown), stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese I use the Toffuti non-dairy cream cheese
1 pound rigatoni pasta I use whole wheat
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 28oz (for a more "soupy" sauce) or 16oz can diced tomatoes.
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. Ignore this if you omited the dried mushrooms.

Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, canned tomatoes 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 remember that whole wheat takes longer. 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. This pasta is delicious cold as leftovers too!

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