Pasta with a Red Lentil Ragu ( Ragu Di Lenticchie rosse);

Living with a Vegetarian in the family has certainly challenged me to find ways to adapt traditional recipes using alternative ingredients to cater for the vegetarian diet. This recipe for Red Lentil Ragu makes for a delicious alternative to a meat Ragu; which a would also adapt well in a vegetarian lasagne recipe; which just might be the subject of a future post! Stay Tuned.

Ingredients;

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion

1 medium carrot

1 large stick of celery

300 grams dry red lentils

a couple of bay leaves

salt and pepper

1 cup of white wine (or red depends on your taste)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups boiling vegetable stock

800 grams canned tomatoes (crushed) or bottled Passata (700g)

Preparation;

finely chop the onion and celery and set aside;

Grate the carrot and set aside;

rinse the lentils under cold water and drain well;

Cooking;

add 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil to a casserole pot and place on medium heat;

add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves to the pot;

season with salt and pepper;

cook the ingredients until the vegetable have softened and are lightly golden;

add the well drained lentils to the pot;

stir and fry with the vegetables for a couple of minutes until coated with oil;

now add the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated by half;

at this stage you can add the tomato paste with the vegetable stock;

and stir the tomato paste through the lentils; bring to boil allowing the flavours to intensify;

add the crushed tomato and stir through;

bring to boil and then lower to a slow simmer;

season with salt and pepper to taste;.

you would need to cook this sauce for at least 25-30 min to ensure the lentils are well cooked;

Cooking the pasta;
Add 5 litres of water to a stock pot and put over a high flame;
tip; use hot water to speed up the cooking time;

Once the pasta water is boiling;

add two table spoons of cooking salt to the boiling water;

add the pasta;

be sure to stir the pasta a few times in the first few minutes so that it doesn’t stick together or to the bottom of the pot;

Cook for the time recommended on the packet; taste test the pasta in the last few minutes to ensure you don’t overlook the pasta;

drain the pasta into a colander;

add the pasta to the sauce in the casserole pot and stir through the sauce;
Serving;
serve straight out of the pot or add to a serving dish;

serve with freshly grated Parmigiano and of course a glass of your favourite wine;

Buon Apetito;

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