Chickpea Penne with Mushroom Bolognese
When you’ve had a hard week, what do you crave most—peace and quiet, a mind-numbing TV show, a welcome creative distraction or a delicious dish? For me, food is the ultimate comfort. After a rough few days, I need something carby, cheesy and saucy in my life. It’s a simple pleasure that nobody should be denied, simply put.
For meat eaters, bolognese sauce is often the epitome of Italian comfort food. It’s thick, it’s hearty and it could practically be served as a meal on its own. For vegetarians, most sauces pale in comparison—but not this sauce. It’s birthed from the classic mirepoix of onions, celery and carrots but evolves into a super luxurious creation featuring three kinds of mushrooms, red wine and plenty of tomato sauce + Italian herbs and spices. To keep things healthy-ish, I opted for Chickapea brand Penne, which has nearly as much protein as an equal serving of steak. Top your pasta dish with a bit of shredded cheese, and you’ll be good to go.
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery ribs, cleaned and sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 c. Cabernet wine
8 oz. white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
About 3 oz. maitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 - 15 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 T. Italian seasoning
1/2 T. dried oregano
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper, to taste
Splash of olive oil
Pinch of brown sugar
1 box pasta of your choice (we used Chickapea penne), cooked according to package directions
Shredded Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese for topping
1) Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil (about two tablespoons). Add the onion, carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent, about six minutes.
2) Pour in the wine and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for five minutes.
3) Add the mushrooms and toss well to combine. Cook for another minute.
4) Pour in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, dried thyme, bay leaves and brown sugar. Simmer uncovered for at least an hour or until most of the liquid has cooked off and the sauce is thick. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
5) While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with olive oil. When the sauce is ready, dip up the pasta, top with a ladleful of sauce and sprinkle with cheese.