roasted vegetable ragu 

one of the things i miss most about not eating meat - besides pork fat - is a hearty pasta sauce. i have made a "meat substitute" version of my spaghetti sauce and it was pretty good - but i believed that it could be better.

when i saw the recipe for roasted vegetable ragu over at epicurious - i knew this would be the answer i was looking for. the recipe needed a few tweaks to fit my tastes (i am not a fan of fennel) but it turned out exactly the way i hoped it would.

roasting the vegetables gives them the "heartiness" they needed to stand up in this ragu. baking the sauce after roasting the vegetables gave it a great depth of flavor - rather than it tasting like a marinara with some vegetables added. the vegetables and the sauce baked together and gave it that slow cooked taste i so miss in a meat sauce. i think even meat eaters would agree that this is an excellent substitution.

roasted vegetable ragu
adapted from  Bon Appétit | November 2003

roasted vegetable ragu

10 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, quartered
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
5 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
olive oil

2 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread mushrooms, carrots, onion and bell peppers in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

roasted vegetable ragu

transfer vegetables to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Add zucchini, red pepper flakes, 2 cups broth, and tomatoes with juices to vegetables; stir to blend well.

Continue to roast until zucchini are tender and juices thicken slightly, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if liquid evaporates too quickly, about 30 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper if it is needed.

roasted vegetable ragu

Serve over favorite pasta (I used fettucini) and sprinkle with parmesan. Alex and I both agreed - it was even better the next day.

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