A meatless lentil bolognese that gets a fall makeover with seasonal vegetables from the farmer’s market and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. This butternut squash and lentil bolognese will quickly win your heart and become one of your go-to meals, plus its locavore roots will have you #TrendingInTheKitchen.
[Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pompeian. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me inspired in the kitchen.]
You know you have a squash problem when you ask for “one of each” on your first fall trip to the farmer’s market.
At every farmstand.
Yes, that’s approximately….twelve squashes in one shot.
Or so I’ve heard.
LOOK, in my defense I am now lucky enough to live across the street from the nearest farmer’s market so no matter how much I overbuy, I can usually make it home.
And now you understand why I tell my husband at least twenty times a week that we are never moving again. Who could give up this farmer’s market proximity?! It would be ludicrous.
It doesn’t hurt that I’m generally a proponent of eating local in theory. I used to be much better about it in practice but after having a child I buy all sorts of fruits and veggies in all sorts of seasons just to try to get my kid to eat one of them.
Feels good to be getting back to my locavore roots with this meal. And yeah, it’s totally hip and #TrendingInTheKitchen to eat locally. So that’s nice too.
Alright. Let’s talk bolognese!!
Made with a lentil, butternut, and chard ragout. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so good.
The lentils give a nice bite and heartiness to the dish.
The squash adds some sweetness to the very savory sauce.
The chard sneaks into every bite with its earthy flavors.
And topped with a dollop of mascarpone it’s so unreasonably delicious that it makes me remember why I love local, seasonal eating to begin with. The produce is just that much tastier when it’s been picked off of a vine or plucked from the ground just a few hours earlier.
Just look at that pot of bolognese. Don’t even tell me you don’t want to bathe in it.
In trying to keep this pasta dish full of all high quality, wholesome ingredients of course I used Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil as my base for the sauce. With its full body flavor and low acidity, it adds a certain richness to the dish that you couldn’t achieve with just any old olive oil. Plus did you know that Pompeian was actually the first national brand of olive oil to carry the USDA Quality Monitored Seal as well as the first to carry the North American Olive Oil Association Seal! A testament to it awesomeness.
Now. Let’s eat.
- 1 cup dried lentils
- ¼ cup Pomepeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 large bunch swiss chard, stems removed and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- In a medium pot, combine the lentils with enough water to cover them. Season the water with salt. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, cooking until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, butternut squash cubes, garlic, thyme, oregano, and salt and black pepper, to taste. Saute until veggies are tender and starting to caramelize, about 6-8 minutes. Add in the swiss chard and saute until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Mix in the tomato paste and saute for another 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste has dissolved. Add the red wine, scraping up any bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Add the whole peeled tomatoes to the pot, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as you add them in. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, cooking for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the cooked lentils.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender, but still firm, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Strain and toss with the sauce. Serve topped with dollops of mascarpone cheese.