Garden Ragu

Monday, August 30, 2010

September is right around the corner, and I'm start to think about fall foods.  And this hearty spaghetti sauce fits the bill perfectly.  A ragu is normally a meaty, complex sauce that simmers all day, filling the house with aromatic bliss.  I kept the ragu's essence, the onions and celery and carrots and added the earthy flavors of mushrooms, lentils and spinach.  The result was hearty and filling ... and the kids never knew they were eating their lentils and spinach.

This recipe makes enough sauce for two pounds of spaghetti.  I usually make a batch for dinner and freeze a batch for later.  It's a bit of work, so it is really worth making a full batch (or even a double) and freezing the extras.  Also, if you balk at the price of procini mushrooms, try dried shiitake instead.  They can be very inexpensive in Asian groceries.

Garden Ragu

Garden Ragu
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups spinach, lightly packed, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes
28 oz can tomato puree (sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
2 lb spaghetti pasta, cooked according to directions

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water.  When they've hydrated, squeeze out the moisture (into the bowl), mince and put back into the water.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and saute until the onions are soft.  Add the carrots and garlic and cook for another minute, until the garlic is aromatic.  Add the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted.  Add the white wine, diced tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, and lentils.  Pour in the minced mushrooms, along with the soaking liquid.  Bring to a boil and cover.  Simmer until the lentils are very soft and begin to lose their shape (you want them to be mushy).  Stir in the basil and salt.

In three or four batches, pour the sauce into a blender and pulse until you get a good consistency.  There should be no large chunks, but thicker than a liquid.  Transfer back to the pot and simmer until ready to eat.  Mix with cooked pasta and serve.

8 servings:  610 cal (9g fat, 109g carbs, 21g protein)

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  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. WOW!! 109 grams of carbs? Is that per serving or the total of all 8 servings?

  3. The portions are pretty hefty, 4 oz of dried pasta per person. Two pounds of pasta (not including the sauce) split eight ways is 85 grams of carbs. That's the nature of pasta.

  4. Jennifer Says:
  5. Pasta perfection! This looks absolutely delicious.

  6. Anonymous Says:
  7. I made this recipe and it is SO delicious! We ate it over whole rigatoni and it was super filling. I cut out almost all the oil and sauteed the veggies in broth because I am trying to lose weight and wanted to cut the fat and it was still delicious. Thanks for the amazing recipe - it's really just what I've been looking for. A filling vegan sauce.


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