All-Veggie Bolognese That Doesn’t Need Beefing Up

Whipping up recipes is nothing new for Yonkers-based chef and cookbook author Marie Rama (Cooking Basics for Dummies, Grilling for Dummies, and Bacon Nation). But work took a personal turn for Rama when her husband was diagnosed with a medical condition that called for a a low-fat, vegetable-driven diet.

Fast-forward through six months of recipe testing and endless tweaking, and Rama has developed FreshnFree Vegetable Bolognese with a little guidance from Cornell’s Food Science Center.

“Food is a source of pleasure,” says Rama, a Yorktown native whose family ran a farm in Yorktown Heights as well as Briccetti’s Bedford Market in Bedford Hills. “I wanted to develop a versatile product that would be heart-healthy without compromising taste or enjoyment.”

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Photo by Steve Cusarto

FreshnFree Vegetable Bolognese is produced in small batches using locally sourced produce. It’s a dream for eaters with dietary considerations but an equally crave-worthy omnivore’s delight. The veggie-centric sauce is surprisingly rich in flavor without any added oil, butter, cream, or meat. The secret, says Rama, is slow-roasting the vegetables to let their flavors develop. Coarse walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes add a pleasant, meaty texture that imitates the chewiness of a meat-based ragú.

Rama says, “Growing up [in a food business family] taught me so much about grit, resiliency, and how to use and appreciate fresh ingredients to make fine food.”

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