Rigatoni Bolognese

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Rigatoni Bolognese


  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Pasta Bolognese is my personal ultimate comfort food. Luscious pasta coated in a thick umami-rich tomato, meat, and wine sauce, there’s something about it that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Although Bolognese is traditionally made with ground meat, this plant-based take on the classic won’t disappoint. I like to use the ultra-nutritious soybean protein, tempeh, as a meat substitute in this dish. However, though significantly less nutritious, plant-based ground meats like Impossible or Beyond Meat work just as well. Feel free to use your favorite!

So, what is tempeh? Tempeh is created by fermenting cooked soybeans and forming them into cake-like slabs. It has a nutty texture and very mild flavor, which allows it to take on the flavors of the sauce or marinade it is cooked in. It is protein-packed, great for gut health and bone health, packed with antioxidants, and can help manage cholesterol levels. I can’t say enough good things about tempeh and I hope you try it out! You can read more about this nutrient powerhouse here.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced small (1 onion)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced small (1-2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced small (1-2 stalks)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced (4 garlic cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 8oz. block tempeh, grated with a box grater or torn into shreds (or 1/2 pound ground meat alternative such as Beyond Meat)
  • 3/4 cup red wine (Use what you like to drink. If you don’t like to drink it, you won’t like it in a sauce either!)
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano brand or Bianco DiNapoli brands
  • 16oz. rigatoni pasta (or other preferred pasta shape)
  • Garnish:
    • 1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
    • optional but recommended: Parmesan cheese or cheese alternative

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion, carrots, celery, and ½ tsp salt. Sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables have softened, about 7 minutes. Add in the grated tempeh, garlic, another ½ tsp salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Sauté 3-5 minutes, or until the tempeh begins to turn golden brown and bits begin to stick  to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine, allowing it to help release any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, then bring to a boil and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 cup pasta water before draining. You may use this to thin out your sauce, depending on how much it has reduced as it simmered. 
  5. Add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat each noodle generously. If needed, add in pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle in remaining tablespoon of olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Garnish with fresh basil and cheese. Dig in!

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