On a frigid, ready-to-drop-from-exhaustion kinda day, I either eat a bowl of cereal and call it a night or gravitate towards a steaming bowl of healthy comfort food...and some cheese. While the latter is a much more satisfying and nourishing option, what's more convenient than pouring cereal and milk into a bowl? Well..nothing really, but add an extra step of pressing a few buttons on a microwave, and you can have yourself a substantial meal. And that's what I bring to you today. Now when I'm making a pasta dish, I like to make a huge pot of sauce (this time a vegetarian mushroom bolognese) over the weekend and keep the cooked pasta (drizzled in some olive oil and stored in a tupperware) so that it can be enjoyed as a quick, comforting weeknight meal. It just so happens that I prefer eating the sauce the next day as the flavors have more fully matured.
In Korean cooking, we use a lot of dried mushrooms, especially "pyogo busut" or shiitake. For this dish, I used the European/American variety, porcini mushrooms. I must admit, the dried mushrooms are a bit on the pricier side, BUT they add an incredible amount of flavor. Simply reconstitute them with hot water and watch the magic happen! You'll immediately catch a whiff of the concentrated aroma that screams umami. Add both the mushrooms and the soaking liquid into the pot, and their meaty/savory texture and flavor contributions more than make up for the not-so-appetizing brownish hue they add to the dish.
Have you tried quinoa pasta? I normally purchase mine from Trader Joe's, and I've become absolutely obsessed. I mean, not only is the taste similar to regular pasta, but it's a great way to add extra protein to a dish like this vegetarian one. I served the dish with some grated parmesan and basil for freshness. Earthy and rich, this really is perfect for when you're needing something stick-to-your-ribs good. The mushrooms take center stage as the bold essence of the soaking liquid resonates throughout the sauce. Chock full of nutrients and flavor, what's not to love?
This Mushroom Bolognese is perfect over pasta for healthy vegetarian comfort food! Tweet this
Mushroom Bolognese with Sweet Potatoes
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups diced sweet potatoes (1/2 in. cubes)
- 1 large Portobello mushroom cap (gills scraped), cut into ¼ in. cubes
- 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water removed
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 (28 oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pound pasta of choice (I used quinoa penne)
- Fresh basil
- Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 ½ cups boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to soften, about 30 minutes. Scoop out, strain, and chop mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid.
- Place the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables, salt, pepper and oregano, and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms and tomato paste, stirring, and cook until mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add porcini mushroom liquid and red wine. Cook until wine is reduced, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with sauce. Top with cheese and basil, and serve!