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Vegetable Bolognese

Last Tuesday, I went up to Sacramento and had dinner with two of my friends, Jacque and Jordann. We affectionately refer to this as Tuesday Dinner and Booze. One of us provide the food and the other provides the booze and frivolous fun is had by all.

This past Tuesday we did a three course meal kinda thing, I wanted fish and pasta, and then a salad got thrown in for good measure. Jacque suggested that we do this Vegetable Bolognese, and I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical.

To me, bolognese is heavy pasta sauce…but this bolognese was full of flavor without the heaviness I associate with bolognese.

This bolognese was full of vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, onions. Mascarpone cheese is added for creaminess. All sorts of yummy goodness. I think the next time I make this, I’m going to throw in some eggplant and take out the bell peppers, I’m not a huge fan of those guys. But even if you’re not a fan of bell peppers, like me, you won’t taste them specifically – at least I didn’t. All in all, this is an awesome awesome pasta dish that doesn’t take all that long to make, about 25 minutes. Yummy and healthy! Whoop.

Since Jordann made the sauce, I don’t know exactly how much oil she used…but when I make it next time I’d probably try to use about 2 tablespoons instead of a 1/4 of a cup of olive oil.

Vegetable Bolognese

From Giada de Laurentiis


  • 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 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), stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 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.

2 comments to Vegetable Bolognese

  • Squirrelette


    So okay, right now I'm sick and actually eat very little, but this is so going on my to-do list for when I'm receovered. And thanks for edu-ma-cating me that Bolognese doesn't always = meat. And for your editorial recipe comments, Ms. Piranha!

    (or is that reversed?)

  • Rene

    I'd never thought of doing a vegetable bolognese either! It was absolutely delicious.

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