Ingredient Highlight, Recipes

Recipe of the Week: Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti night is one of the most loved nights of the week, and there are lots of tasty ways to prepare it! Bolognese sauce is really good, but takes a long time to slow cook to perfection. Sometimes we don’t have time to cook all day, but never fear! Captain Create has a speedier version that is packed with nutrition and flavor you can put together in just over 30 minutes. Read on for a bit about traditional bolognese, and how it was the beginning of the American spaghetti dinner we know and love.

This famous sauce, from the city of Bologna, is traditionally meat based, and it didn’t originally have tomatoes in it! It is used to dress wide, flat tagliatelle noodles, or to make lasagna. To make it with the traditional recipe, it uses slow cooked meat and tomatoes with lots of tasty herbs and spices. It uses lots of cooking techniques, and is much more complex than adding cooked hamburger to red sauce. Captain Create has an easy-to-make vegetarian recipe that doesn’t take all day and its similar to the typical American spaghetti and meatballs type sauce.

Spaghetti Bolognese, aka spaghetti with red sauce, was probably created by Italian immigrants from southern Italy who had to cook with the ingredients available to them in the new place. The first time this pasta and sauce combination appeared in the book Practical Italian recipes for American kitchens, written by Julia Lovejoy Cuniberti in 1917; it suggested using spaghetti or macaroni noodles, rather than the traditional tagliatelle shape used in Italy.1 It was hard to get tagliatelle unless it was made by hand. Tagliatelle are thick flat strips of pasta, wider than fettuccine noodles.

Since we are not cooking this sauce in Italy, and you really can create any kind of meal you’d like, you can pick your pasta shape! While the shapes all look different, they taste the same since they’re all made from the same recipe. They are all shaped differently because that way the various sauces you can serve over pasta will stick to the swirls or fill in open spaces in the pasta shapes. Thinner sauces without big pieces of meat or vegetables, are usually served with the swirled or tube shapes, while thick and chunky sauces are better to be served over spaghetti or fettuccine type noodles. Which do you think you’d like to try first?

All wheat pasta, no matter the shape, are full of carbohydrates (which give you energy) and if you can get whole wheat pasta, you’ll get even more vitamins and fiber into your day. Your body loves the long-lasting energy whole grain foods like whole wheat pasta can provide. This sauce is also full of tasty veggies like onions, garlic, peppers and even carrots, which add a bit of sweetness to the protein the lentils will add.

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1 thought on “Recipe of the Week: Lentil Bolognese Sauce”

  1. This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. The savory lentils add a nice depth of flavor to the sauce while the sweet onions and garlic give it a nice flavor contrast. This makes a great meal on its own, or as a side dish for pasta.
    Jackson Williams

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