I’m going to have to beg your patience today. You see, I’m still a bit addled with jet lag as the husband and I just got back from a terrific vacation to Italy! (More on that to come…both recipes and pictures…I promise)
Yeah, we have gone through the “falling back” bit of the time change thing twice, this past weekend here in the States and the weekend before in Italy. Not to mention having to deal with the usual 6 hour time difference to boot. Our whole sleep schedule thing is shot! But it was so worth it. We did make it back for Halloween, in an appropriate zombie like condition I must say. I can’t believe Halloween is now done and dusted! Time is just flying by. Thanksgiving and dare I mention it, Christmas will be here before we know it. Fall is my favourite season though, so I certainly don’t want to rush things. I’m going to try to take a bit of time to enjoy the right here and now, with all of its wind-blown, rustling leaves and crisp Autumn temperatures. And I’ve got some great Fall recipes coming up. I should probably warn you that there might be a fair few apple dishes on the way. I love apples. My favourite fruit and they are in season right now, so look out! But no apples today. Nope, no dessert dish today, but a lovely versatile dinner offering. This Lentil & Mushroom Ragu will blow your mind. I’m telling you, you will not miss the meat one little bit in this hearty veggie sauce.
The husband and I both love lentils and mushrooms, so this Meatless Monday offering was a no-brainer. Not to mention that it is full of so many of the flavours that I just adore….like balsamic vinegar, red wine and basil. And it even has some red pepper flakes to kick up the spice factor. It almost seems that the folks over at Foxes Love Lemons, where I found this delicious recipe, made it up with me in mind! I served it over a bowl of fresh pasta, but it would be equally delicious over a salad. As we were chowing down on the last little bite of this stupendous sauce I found myself dreaming about using it as the sauce in a veggie lasagna. I imagine it would be so stunning nestled in between layers of pasta sheets, with some spinach and fresh mozzarella and parmesan! Now that the weather has turned a bit colder, this Lentil & Mushroom Ragu was sheer perfection! I think it will be in heavy rotation on the winter dinner menu.
Lentil & Mushroom Ragu
recipe slightly adapted from: Foxes Love Lemons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked through
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 box (16 ounces) spaghetti or whatever pasta you prefer
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In large saucepot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, carrot, bell pepper and onion. Cook until vegetables are very brown and soft, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add wine; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Use wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan.
Stir in bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, water, lentils, oregano, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water, as needed, if ragu gets too thick. Remove bay leaf and stir in basil.
Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions.
Serve ragu over spaghetti. Garnish with parsley and serve with Parmesan cheese.
Lentil & Mushroom Ragu brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)