Dinner Tonight: Pasta with Lentil and Mushroom Ragu

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lentil-mushroom-raguSometimes I just need a big bowl of pasta. To me it is the ultimate in comfort food and thanks to a variety of premade pastas, it can be on the table in less than an hour.

The star of this meal is the ragu. Ragu is usually a meat-based sauce with a small amount of tomato sauce added. This recipe uses lentils and mushrooms instead of meat, but don’t worry, it will still give you a very satisfying heartiness and flavor, plus loads more nutrition!

If you don’t want to use pasta, this would be just as good as a sauce on other things such as rice or a baked potato, or even polenta.

Pasta with Lentil and Mushroom Ragu

• 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 1 tsp salt, divided
• 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
• 4 cups roughly chopped crimini mushrooms
• 2 chopped celery stalks
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
• 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
• 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1 cup red wine
• 1 1/4 cups brown or green lentils, rinsed
• 2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
• 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 lb whole grain pasta

In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, celery and garlic to the pan and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and black pepper and stir for a minute. Pour in red wine, raise the heat to medium-high, and boil for 2 minutes. Add lentils, crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

While the ragu sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta well. Serve pasta topped with ragu.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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