Black Lentil and Vegetable BologneseI saw this recipe after Australia Day when we were feeling that a vegetarian meal was in order after consuming a lot of meat, as you do, at that time of year. Luckily I had all of these ingredients in my pantry, and after all one of the first rules of Italian cooking is that you try and use the ingredients that you have on hand. I was also rather excited about the idea of using puy lentils with a vegetable and Bolognese sauce. It must have been my inner Italian stirring as well, although there is no evidence that I possess any unfortunately.
My Man of the House is really into researching my Family History and so far he has discovered that on my Mothers Maternal side, my lineage goes as far back as Rollo, the famous Viking from the TV series, who is also the Great, Great, Great, Grandfather of William the Conqueror. Perhaps there is another great in there but anyway you get the idea. I was excited that that meant I was also related to Ragnar Lothbrok, but apparently he is a mythical character and there is no proof that he actually existed. Oh well, I will just have to be happy with Rollo. On my Dad's side I have a Pilgrim history with my ancestors sailing from Plymouth in England, to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in America on the Mayflower. I think now that I may have inherited some of the Pilgrim tendencies which are appropriate for a enjoying a simple life in my retirement, baking bread, making relishes and pickles, my own cheese etc. There are also other lineages as well which I won't bother about, but perhaps I need to have a DNA test done to ascertain which of those traits I really do have. Perhaps there will be a little Italian somewhere in my makeup.
Thanks to Green Kitchen Stories for this recipe. I didn't have green stoned olives on hand so I substituted black instead, which don't provide as much colour contrast as the black but they tasted great anyway. I would recommend using the green though if you have them. I also added a couple of chopped home grown Japanese eggplant which were delicious with the other vegetables. The textures in the dish work well together, provided by the grated and chopped carrot, the eggplant, and the lentils which stay in tact throughout the whole cooking process. Other vegetables on hand can be added as well.
All in all, served with al dente tagliatelle pasta, grated Parmesan, some shredded basil and parsley and olive oil it was delicious, and quite guilt free.
I hope you can try this recipe, and as a result the children of the house will also eat more vegetables than they realise.
So, my friends have you had a DNA test done, or are you considering it?
100g / 1/2 cup uncooked Puy (or beluga) lentils
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 large carrots, peeled
2 sticks celery, rinsed
4 tbsp green or black olives, stones removed and slightly bruised
1 tbsp. fresh basil
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 x 800g tin tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pasta of choice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Meanwhile, chop one of the carrots and the celery into 1/2 inch chunks and add them to the pan along with the olives and dried herbs (if using).
Let this soften for a couple of minutes, add the red wine and let cook until the alcohol evaporates. Add the lentils, half the vegetable stock, bay leaves, tinned tomatoes, and fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Grate the remaining carrot and add it as well.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked, stirring from time to time so as not to burn the base of the sauce. Add the remaining stock or water, little by little, to loosen the sauce when ever it is looking dry. Taste and adjust the spices to your liking.
Cook your pasta of choice. Serve the sauce stirred through the pasta, topped with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley or other herbs and a drizzle of oil.
Thanks for visiting,