I call my friend, Joy, “Mother Earth.” She is a wife, mother, wonderful friend and great cook (oh yeah, and a rock and roll singer). From time to time, I’ll be posting some of her recipes.
Joy is a vegan and, like me, Italian, and to Italians, food means love — love of food, love of eating and love of cooking. This is one of Joy’s recipes. Please, don’t rule it out. I am not a vegan, but I wanted to try it, and was pleasantly surprised. The texture is very different and nice. As my mother would often say when we all sat down to the dinner table, “Mangia!”
LENTIL WALNUT BOLOGNESE
Serves 4 – 6*
1 Small onion
2 Stalks of celery
1 Large carrot
2 Cloves garlic
2 Tablespoon Tomato paste
1 and 1/2 Cups walnuts, processed until fine
1 Cup cooked lentils
2 to 3 Cups veggie broth (start with 2 and add more if it seems too thick)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 Can diced tomatoes
Splash of red wine (optional but recommended — or in lieu of wine, you can use balsamic vinegar)
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper (use any or all of these to your taste)
Serve with: linguini, fettuccini, penne or farfalle
Top with your favorite cheese.
Begin by cooking your lentils in a pot of water. Do not cook until mushy. These should be firm and still holding their shape. They will continue to cook with the other ingredients.
In a food processor, process first 4 ingredients until it is chopped very fine. Add to a pot on low heat. Then stir in the tomato paste until incorporated. Put walnuts in the food processor and process them until they are fine. Set aside. Cook until veggies are soft, and then add the rest of the ingredients except the wine. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, covered, and then add wine. (While this is cooking, you can prepare your pasta) Uncover and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
*Don’t be fooled by the amount this makes. It is really hearty. One dish coupled with the pasta is very substantial.