Look I enjoy meat, and my son and husband are carnivores. So I always look for new and exciting ways to get more vegetables in my family. Disguising vegetables in meals for the family, as you sit across the table doing a secret glare deep down inside, as you see them enjoying the dish. Gives me all the joy and slyness in the world. I’m nourishing you, and you have no clue.
Ragu is typically a meat based sauce, with little tomato and white wine. I switched out the meat, with hearty veggies such as, eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini. I steered a little off course and added extra tomato and used red wine instead. These small substitutes, gave the Ragu a deeper taste and hid the vegetables, for my picky veggie eaters. I can say that, I didn’t miss the meat in this sauce, and that my family didn’t either.
Prep Time – 15 mins
Cook Time – 1.5hrs
Total Time – 1hr 45mins
• 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 medium sized Eggplant, chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces
• 1 medium sized Zucchini, chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces
• 1 8oz carton of Baby Bella Mushrooms , chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces. Use the whole mushroom
• 1/2 tsp of Chili Flakes or less
• 2 tsp Kosher Salt
• 1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
• 3 medium sized Carrots diced
• 3 stalks of Celery diced
• 1 medium Yellow Onion diced
• 4 Cloves of Garlic minced
• 2 Tbsp dried Parsley
• 1 28oz Can of diced Tomatoes
• 1 cup of Red Wine – I recommend a Cabernet
• 1 tsp dried Rosemary
• 1 tsp dried Thyme
• 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
• 1 cup of warmish water
• 1lbs of your favorite curly pasta
1) In a heavy bottom pot or a Dutch Oven, over medium-high heat add your Olive Oil. Once Oil is heated, add your Eggplant and season with half of your salt, stir to coat and cook for about 5 mins, so the eggplant can start to break down. Once Eggplant is starting to soften, add your mushrooms, zucchini, chili flakes, half of your pepper and half of the remaining salt. Stir to incorporate all those flavors, cook over medium-high heat for about 5 – 10mins, to allow these veggies to release most of their water. Next add your onions, carrots, celery and garlic, stir in with the other veggies and turn heat to low, to cook down by about half for 40-45 mins (stirring every now and then) This is an important step as you want all these ingredients to melt down together and start to become one, and there isn’t as much liquid remaining.
2) Once the veggies have melted down and caramelized a bit, turn your heat back up to Medium-high heat. Pour in your can of tomatoes and red wine, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Now you want to stir that all into your melted down veggies and start to scrape up all those wonderful brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer, for about 15-20 mins.
3) Add in the Can of tomato Paste and warm water, the remaining of salt and pepper. Stir and continue to cook over simmer for another 10-15mins. While the sauce is finishing up, now is your time to boil the water for your favorite curly pasta. Cook pasta according to box/bag, until al dente. Drain the pasta and plate it. Top with the Vegetable Ragu and grate some fresh Parmesan over top. ENJOY!