Anyone who has eaten at Giada De Laurentiis’ Las Vegas restaurant knows the celebrity chef’s pasta dishes are executed with a lighter touch, but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste great. The veggie Bolognese over rigatoni is the perfect example of how to keep a favorite dish hearty and satisfying with rich flavor, thanks to dried and reconstituted porcini mushrooms, red wine and mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses.
Giada Cromwell, 855-442-3271. Lunch: Daily, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 5-10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5-11 p.m.
Rigatoni with vegetable Bolognese
1 oz. dried porcini mushroom
1½ cups hot water
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 oz. assorted mushrooms (like shiitake and cremini), stemmed and chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup red wine
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Method: Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1½ cups very hot water. Set aside and let the mushrooms soften.
Place carrots, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but still chunky. Place olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until tender, about six minutes.
Strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms and tomato paste to skillet and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about five minutes. Add the porcini mushroom liquid and red wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and stir just until the cheese is incorporated.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about eight to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid and adding to the vegetable mixture.
Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, if necessary, to moisten the sauce. Toss with Parmesan and serve, topped with additional Parmesan if desired.