Saturday, January 19, 2008

mushroom bolognese

yeah i'll admit i didn't know what bolognese sauce was until after i made it and after i wikipedia'd it.

wikipedia says:

Bolognese sauce (rag├╣ alla bolognese in Italian, also known by its French name sauce bolognaise) is a meat based sauce for pasta originating in Bologna, Italy. Bolognese sauce is sometimes taken to be a tomato sauce but authentic recipes have only a very small amount of tomato, perhaps a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.

oh i see.

the recipe i used came from a cookbook i received for christmas maybe 10 years ago when i first decided to become vegetarian. it's called the best-ever vegetarian cookbook and can be found here or at any barnes and noble stores i guess. i don't know if it is the BEST EVER cookbook, but it was a great starting point for someone who wasn't familiar with cooking sans animals. every recipe is pictured which is amazing. a lot of them were too sophisticated for my 11 year old tastes, but i did like that it didn't base recipes around mock meats which are kind of gross and rather expensive. instead of providing a list of things to substitute for meat, each recipe was unique and didn't make a big deal out of the fact that it was vegetarian. each dish i tried was easy to prepare -- by that time i had been cooking meals for my family for maybe a little over a year so i had some experience in the kitchen, but nothing too fancy. the only thing that failed me was the homemade ravioli recipe. *shrug* i'm sure if i tried it again i could get it though. i do wish, however, that it featured more recipes with tofu because it took me years to figure out how to prepare it. still, this book is what i turn to when i'm not feeling creative but still want to eat something healthy and tasty.

mushroom bolognese
(from the best-ever vegetarian cookbook)

1 pound of mushrooms
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 T tomato paste
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
3 T fresh oregano
1 pound fresh pasta
salt and fresh cracked pepper
parmesan cheese, to serve (vegans, leave this out)

serves 4.

1. trim the mushroom stems neatly at the top, then cut each mushroom into quarters.
2. heat the oil in a large pan. add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
3. add the mushrooms to the pan and cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. there will be quite a lot of liquid produced.
4. stir in the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. lower the heat and cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes, or according to package directions, until just tender.
6. season the bolognese sauce with salt and pepper. drain the pasta, pour it into the bowl, and add the mushroom mixture. toss to mix well. serve in individual bowls, topped with shavings of fresh parmesan and the remaining chopped oregano.

*if you prefer to use dried pasta, make this the first thing you cook. use 12 oz dried pasta. it will take 10-12 minutes, during which time you can make the mushroom mixture.*

my comments: i used dried pasta. no pasta machine = no homemade pasta. i think it would be lovely to make everything homemade, but whatever. i also halved the recipe since i cook for myself and no one else. although it did not specify, i would recommend draining the tomatoes before adding them, perhaps reserving a small amount of liquid in case the sauce is too dry.

i also found this to be a little bland. i left out the cheese and only had dried oregano on hand, but i think even with those it would've been a little blah for my tastes. serve this to people like my great-aunt who order food "as mild as possible" when you go to restaurants.

once again, sorry for lack of photo. i am lazy.

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