Monday, September 14, 2009

Meatless Monday: Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese

Hope you didn't think I forgot all about Meatless Mondays! Don't worry, I haven't been secretly hiding in the shadowy corners up to my molars on a leg of mutton. I've just been busy orchestrating a relocation. Sadly, the move will place us outside of convenient driving distance of Underwood Farms, so we'll have to cancel our CSA subscription (*sniff*), BUT it will place us within walking distance of a fantastic weekly farmer's market. Yay!

The CSA program has been terrific - it taught me to choose items that are locally grown and in season, I felt really good about supporting a local business, and the fruits and veggies have been so fresh - but I've really missed being able to choose which seasonal fruits and veggies I bring home every week. For instance, I won't miss suffering through multiple weeks of pounds upon pounds of carrots and radishes. So, I think switching to buying produce at a farmer's market again is going to be a great change for us.

So, as I alluded, while I was spending a lot of time on the road driving around looking at potential new homes recently, I didn't neglect my Meatless Monday pledge. We found some great meatless meals on the go at places like Il Tramezzino. (The soup and 1/2 sandwich special was perfect at $9.99. I got their cold cucumber soup and grilled Sicilian sandwich. Yum!) And we also had time to make a few of our own delicious meatless dishes at home. We had the corn soup I made a couple of weekend ago again (because it was so good, I had to have more!). And we finally got around to making a dish from the Food Network that a friend recommended to us quite a while ago. So glad we checked that last recipe out, because now I can share that experience with you now!

Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese

I know what you're thinking - Bolognese? Isn't a Bolognese sauce by definition a meat sauce?? Okay, sure, this recipe does stretch the limits of traditional food definitions, but with good cause. The sauce actually does do an amazing job of mimicking the mouthfeel and appearance of a meat sauce (you know, without the actual icky meat). The porcini mushrooms - with their brown color, toothsome texture, and earthy flavor - can take most of the credit for that.

I bought all the ingredients for this recipe with the full intention of making it that same day or the very next, but we found ourselves running off to house-viewing appointments every time we turned around, so my best efforts were often dashed. By the time I got around to cutting up the veggies, I discovered that my red pepper - that still looked perfect from the outside - had mold on the inside. Ewww. We didn't really have time to run out to the store to pick up a new one, so we just substituted some tomato (with the seed goop removed). Came out great! When I make this again and have a non-mold-filled red pepper to put in it, I will probably roast the pepper and remove the skin before combining it with the other ingredients (as I've recommended before).

A bonus? This is definitely a dish that improves with reheating. Yay for leftovers!

Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!

Other Meatless Monday posts

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