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Vegetarian Mushroom Bolognese

December 26, 2011

I love the website Pinterest. Until recently, I would drag home design, sewing projects, and recipes to my desk top and categorize them into folders, which made it harder to go through and peruse. With Pinterest, I can pin my favorite interiors, recipes, educational art projects to do with Serafina and create quite an efficient sewing To Do List. The layout of the online bulletin board is easy to search and find one’s old pins. For someone who is purely visual like myself (tell me something and I will forget, show me and I will remember forever), this is website is an amazing resource. Plus, I can see those of my friends or strangers, and gather more inspiration. I added the link to my Pinterest page on the right, for you to experience the website. If anything, it is amazing to see the wonderful creative ideas your own friends love and do.

Our Christmas dinner came from such an inspiration, and my friend’s pin of a vegetarian bolognese. I changed it up a little bit, to make it more streamlined and easier for entertaining, but still delicious enough for guests. This is the perfect meal for vegetarians and meat eaters because the porcini mushrooms add a depth of flavor, and the chopped baby bellas give it a texture. In fact, when AAM brought the dish into the dining nook, he thought I had thrown fake meat into the dish, which would be odd because we generally don’t serve guests processed fake meats, and then he quickly remembered the veggie layers of the sauce that gave it the thick meaty look. In fact, this is an incredibly healthy meal, without feeling like a healthy meal. Although I saved the dish to serve my in-laws, it is definitely a sauce that will freeze and can be served for the three of us on a weeknight. It is so delicious that my mushroom hating husband was a convert!

A Note on the Recipe:
a few of the items I used were a little more expensive than my average meal. Shitake mushrooms can be pricey, but for a Christmas dinner, I felt it was the worth the cost. People tend to scoff when I add in a pricey ingredient or buy mostly organic. Something to think about is that vegetarians save hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars a year by not buying meat. Additionally, if you keep your processed food budget low, like I learned with last year’s Project Food Budget challenge, occasional more expensive natural ingredients can be worth the cost. So, if you are having guests, it is worth it to add in the shitake, or maybe using a high-end tomato sauce, to help impress. Also, this is a vegan optional meal. Everything is vegan until the optional sprinkling of Romano cheese, which makes this a heart healthy meal, so this is perfect for a group of diverse eaters.

Vegetarian Mushroom Bolognese

  • 1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup of veggie broth
  • 1 pint of baby bellas
  • handful of shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce (homemade, or something fancy like Rao’s)
  • 1 lb of fettuccini or tagliatelle, or similarly thick pasta
  • To taste: Extra virgin olive oil, Pecorino Romano cheese, Salt, Pepper

1. Simmer the porcini mushrooms in the veggie broth for 20 minutes. I started with it in a smaller saucepan, but ended up throwing it in a large pot, so the size is really up to you.

2. Add the carrots, celery, and onions in and let simmer until the carrots are soft, for 30-45 minutes. Since you are trying to let the flavors meld, it is ok to go longer on the suggested simmer times.

3. Meanwhile, boil a pot of salted water, and cook your pasta to the time on the box. Fettuccine usually takes 8 minutes, but if you have fresh tagliatelle, that is much quicker.

4. Once you are ready, throw in the mushrooms and tomato sauce. At this point, I put the heat up to a medium/high simmer to try and evaporate some of the remainding water. This really depends on how thick your pasta sauce is. You want the end result to be a bit thick.

5. Drain and plate the pasta, drizzle a little olive oil, then add the sauce on top. Let your guests add cheese, salt and pepper.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2011 8:36 am

    This looks delicious! I must try this recipe… we are a pasta lovin’ family, so it’s sure to be a winner.

  2. December 30, 2011 7:08 am

    Just to let you know, Maureen, I made this sauce for the family last night. They gobbled it down with delight. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Happy New Year!


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