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Do you have a few hours with nowhere to go? Grab your biggest pot and make this Bolognese – you’ll be glad you did!

I wish I had a story to tell you about this recipe, but I really don’t. I made it last Saturday, which was rainy and cold. We stayed in and let it simmer all afternoon while we did work around the house – Bolognese is simple to make, but it needs to cook for a few hours in order to thicken up and let the flavors develop. It smelled absolutely amazing while it cooked; we kept wandering into the kitchen to check up on it. It felt like an eternity had passed by the time we sat down to eat, but it was well worth it.

Bolognese has a reputation for being indulgent, but I lightened it up by replacing some of the meat with lentils. It might seem weird to eat lentils with pasta since both are starchy, but trust me… they have the perfect texture and earthy taste to make this dish work. If you close your eyes while you eat, you might even forget they’re there.

This recipe makes a ton, so go ahead and clear out some space in your freezer. I divided the leftovers into smaller portions to use for quick weeknight meals when I’m too tired to cook. I’m also planning to use some of it in a lasagna!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Veal + Lentil Bolognese
 
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This lighter take on Bolognese is perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It makes a huge pot (about 10 cups of sauce), but the leftovers can be frozen for a quick weeknight meal. Serve over thick noodles, with a sprinkle of parmesan and a glass of good red wine. If you don't like veal, substitute lean ground pork.
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, diced
  • 2 Celery Ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 pound Ground Veal
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Green Lentils (dry)
  • 2 28 ounce cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Skim Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pasta, for serving
Preparation
  1. Melt the butter in a 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery; cook until they begin to release their liquid – about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the veal. Cook, stirring to help break the meat up, until it is no longer pink – about 5 minutes. Add the broth; scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the lentils and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce begins to thicken too much, loosely cover with a lid for the second hour.)
  3. Warm the milk, either in a second pot or by microwaving it for 45 seconds. Stir into the sauce; season with salt and pepper. Simmer an additional 30 minutes.
  4. To serve, gently ladle ¾ cup sauce over each serving of pasta.