Chickpea Bolognese

By • April 5, 2014 • 60 Comments

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Author Notes: I love a good Bolognese and often make it with a variety of meats, including ground turkey as an alternative to pork, veal, or beef. This time I gave it a shot with chickpeas and it turned out rather well...inpatskitchen

Food52 Review: WHO: Inpatskitchen is a retired teacher, paralegal, and a four-time contest winner.
WHAT: Your new go-to sauce.
HOW: A classic mirepoix is done quickly in a food processor, then you sauté a parade of ingredients; simmer; briefly blend; and pile it all atop pasta.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Don't be fooled by the beans -- this sauce is deeply flavored and complex, rich from a little cream and earthy from dried porcini. Spooned onto pasta or polenta with a shower of Parmesan, this has us forgetting all about the Italian classic.
The Editors

Serves about 6

  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 ounces pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, or two 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional but oh so good!)
  • One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (or another good plum tomato)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup light cream or half and half
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • A nice handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Parmesan cheese for finishing
  • 1 pound dried pasta, cooked to al dente
  1. Pour the cup of boiling water over the porcini and let steep for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and pancetta in the bowl of a food processor and process until not quite smooth. You want a little texture here.
  3. Heat the 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and add the chickpeas. Sauté over medium heat for a few minutes, making sure the chickpeas are coated with the oil. Add the processed mixture and continue to sauté until the vegetables soften and become fragrant.
  4. Add the basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and continue to sauté another minute or two. Remove the porcini mushrooms from the soaking liquid and chop finely. Add them to the pot. Strain and reserve the liquid.
  5. With your clean hands, crush the tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the wine and the porcini soaking liquid. Bring up to a simmer and simmer, partially covered, for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
  6. After an hour, use an immersion blender to break down about half of the chickpeas. Add the light cream and bring back up to a simmer. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Off the heat, stir in the torn basil leaves.
  7. Serve over pasta garnished with Parmesan and drizzled with a little olive oil if you like.
Jump to Comments (60)

Comments (60) Questions (1)

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13 days ago foodipes

great recipe :) looking forward to try this

Dscn3274

13 days ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much! Sure hope you enjoy!

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about 1 month ago Horto

great idea!
love classic dishes but would rather not eat meat

Dscn3274

about 1 month ago inpatskitchen

Thanks Horto! And some have said you can skip the pancetta although I've never tried it. Hope you enjoy!

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5 months ago James Mischka

This was amazing! Made it exactly as written. Great leftovers too, if you can leave anything uneaten!

Dscn3274

5 months ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much James! Had I not set a little aside for my photo, ours would have been completely gone also. So happy you enjoyed!

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5 months ago Marsha Gainey

Made this recently with wagon wheels. I would've liked more sauce but then, I always want more sauce! Still, this is a very tasty and filling recipe to only have in it a little pancetta/bacon, a few 'shrooms, and a bunch of chickpeas. A definite keeper.

Dscn3274

5 months ago inpatskitchen

So glad you enjoyed this Marsha...thanks!

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6 months ago ktjk

Thinking of making this, but I can't do dairy. Do you think the cream is integral to the dish? Trying to think of what to sub, maybe just up the olive oil and add some broth?

Dscn3274

6 months ago inpatskitchen

I think that would be fine...please let me know how it turns out for you!

Stringio

4 months ago CatalunaLilith

Cashew cream would likely work very well, and is vegan and would add protein.

The cream isn't integral to the sauce happening, as long as you substitute the right amount of liquid, but the creamy element helps greatly to mellow the sauce and balance the acidity of the tomatoes

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6 months ago ghainskom

Very nice. Worth getting a higher-quality pancetta. Ours gave the sauce a nice smokey taste. My 7 yo picked out the chickpeas that were left whole, stating she didn't like them. Little did she know she was eating pureed ones in the sauce, little fool! Not to mention celery! *evil mom grin*

Dscn3274

6 months ago inpatskitchen

Love it ! I love fooling the little devils! Thanks so much...so happy you all enjoyed!

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6 months ago chankari

Really delicious! I made this tonight and it was very hearty and satisfying. I made a two changes: no pancetta (to make it vegetarian), used crushed tomatoes instead of whole (bought the wrong can...). With a glass of wine, it was the perfect long weekend meal.

Dscn3274

6 months ago inpatskitchen

So happy you enjoyed...although I've never made this without the pancetta, many have told me it's just fine without it. I'm just a real Bacon fan!

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6 months ago LittleRobinRed

Great recipe! It was very tasty and well received by my meat-loving husband. The sauce turned out very thick. I think maybe the hour of simmering was a little too long (or maybe my heat was too high), or the sauce could have benefited from the addition of a some chicken broth.

Dscn3274

6 months ago inpatskitchen

I'm so glad you enjoyed! Nothing wrong with adding a little broth or water to thin this out! Thanks!

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7 months ago SeasideGardener

This is indeed delicious. But, please people, don't write a comment until you have tried it!

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

So happy you enjoyed!

Birthday_2012

7 months ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

s.g., sometimes people just want to cheer another cook on, or say, as I do now, that the photo is just so pretty with the tagliatelle folded under the sauce ... it is a lot to scroll through, but it is also wonderful to get comments and encouragement!

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7 months ago fearlessem

Made this tonight and it was fantastic!! Really really delicious, and I honestly could have mistaken it for a meat sauce -- the mushrooms give it such a savory richness. I couldn't stop eating the sauce directly from the pot with a spoon.

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much fearlessem! I so appreciate your comment! (hope you saved a little sauce for some pasta!)

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7 months ago laurelei235

Instead of using a stick blender at the end, why not buzz the chickpeas in the food processor at the start?

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

You certainly can but you'd have to watch the pot and stir more frequently during the simmer so nothing sticks to the bottom. I like being able to control the amount of creaminess I get at the end. Thanks so much for your interest!

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7 months ago laurelei235

Instead of using a stick blender at the end, why not buzz the chickpeas in the food processor at the start?

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7 months ago TheWimpyVegetarian

FABULOUS!!!! I really love this, Pat! I'm making it this week.

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thank you Susan! Sure hope you enjoy!

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7 months ago Trena

I can't wait to give this a try! It looks like yet another great recipe from Pat of inpatskitchen. Yes, I'm a superfan!

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Trena..you're way too kind! Thanks so much!

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7 months ago gingerroot

Congrats Pat! This looks delicious. Looking forward to trying it.

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thanks ginger root! Hope you enjoy!

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7 months ago Joy Belamarich

I am so very intrigued by this!

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Oh...I hope you give it a try Joy!

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7 months ago Nicole

On step 4: add to pot, strain and reserve liquid. Am I straining everything that is in the pot and reserving the liquid?

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

I'm sorry...the porcini should soak in the boiling water in a separate bowl or cup, not in the cooking pot..Just remove the porcini that were soaking in the boiled water, but save that liquid and strain it in case there was any sand or such stuff from the porcini. Once the porcini soaking liquid is strained add it to the pot with the tomatoes.

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7 months ago Cameron

This is SUPER delicious!!!... And I haven't even tried over pasta with Reggiano.

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thanks Cameron! Save a little sauce for the pasta!

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7 months ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Congrats! Sounds delicious!

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thank you M&M!

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7 months ago Bevi

Congrats, Pat! Looks delicious!

Dscn3274

7 months ago inpatskitchen

Thanks Bevi!