Vegetable Bolognese


I've never had traditional bolognese, but I've seen quite a few recipes for it over the past few years.  I'm sure it is very good, but I'm not a huge fan of meat sauce on my spaghetti and from what I gather, bolognese is nothing BUT meat!  I spotted this take of a bolognese recipe by Leslie Sarna in my saved recipes and decided to give it a try.  We planted zucchini, tomatoes, and red bell peppers in our garden this year and though it is coming along nicely, we haven't quite reached the point where we can start picking anything (well, with the exception of 2 garden salsa peppers).  So, for the time being, we had to resort to store bought produce, but it did the trick.  Within one bite, Joel was praising the recipe!  I successfully halved the recipe, which was more than enough for both of us to eat for 2 days, but the original is listed below.

1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
Pinch of Salt
56 ounces Whole Tomatoes (2 large cans or 4 regular cans)
1 (6 ounce) can Tomato Paste
6-8 Garlic Cloves, minced
Pinch of Sugar
Splash of Wine (optional)
1 Carrot, sliced (We omitted)
1 package Mushrooms, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
*1 Sweet Banana Pepper, diced (We added--from my mom's garden!)
1 Zucchini, sliced and halved
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
Handful (or 2) of Spinach
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (We used Red Pepper Flakes)
Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade

In a large saucepan over medium heat, pour the olive oil to cover the bottom.  Add the onions and a pinch of salt.  Saute for about 2 minutes, then add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, half of the garlic, and wine.  Stir and cover, turning the heat to medium-low, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If at any point the sauce becomes too thick, add some water (I added about 1/3 cup of water).  Stir in the carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers and cook for about 10-15 more minutes.  About 5 minutes before ready to serve, stir in the grape tomatoes, the remaining garlic, spinach, and red pepper/cayenne.  Serve over your choice of pasta and garnish with the basil.