Veggie Bolognese


WOT Chef Series: Chef Kristen Kish’s Quick Veggie Bolognese + Ricotta Gnudi

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Today Camila and Chef Kristen Kish make her Quick Veggie Bolognese + Ricotta Gnudi!

Welcome to our fourth and final week of our August Chef Series on the Women of Today Instagram! This week, we are welcoming  Chef Kristen Kish as she shows us how to make her Quick Veggie Bolognese + Ricotta Gnudi.

Here is a complete shopping list for everything you will need for the recipe:


  • red onion
  • garlic
  • basil
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • carrot
  • sweet potato
  • shiitake mushroom
  • fresh roma tomato


  • kosher salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper
  • chili flake
  • dried pasta
  • tomato paste
  • wine
  • dried pasta (can be gluten free)
  • sherry or red wine vinegar
  • stock (or water)


  • parmesan cheese
  • goats cheese or (mascarpone or ricotta is great if you don’t like goat cheese)

Chef Kristen Kish's Quick Veggie Bolognese


  • Food processer with blade attachment
  • Large dutch oven with lid or something similar, see photo
  • General cooking utensils – spoon, knife, cutting board
  • Micro plane grater or fine cheese grater
  • Large pot to cook pasta, strainer, & serving bowl(s)


Quick Veggie Bolognese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small red onion small diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound shiitake mushroom, de-stemmed and ground *or your favorite mushroom (about 4 cups) If using another type of mushroom, It could contain more moisture and it might need to cook longer to draw the moister out.
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic (about 2 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (red works great too)
  • 3 medium carrots minced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large white sweet potato (about 2 cups) or parsnips (peeled and grated) (about 2 cups) *I find the white Japanese ones are less sweet.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (red works great too)
  • 3 roma tomato blended (about 1.5 cups) 
  • 1 - 1.5 cups of water or stock (or as needed)
  • 3 sprigs of basil with leaves plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated plus more for garnish
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • chili flake to taste
  • Your favorite dried pasta cooked or GF pasta if you prefer *also delicious on polenta or rice… or your favorite protein
  • sherry or red wine vinegar to taste (ends up being about 2 tsp)
  • 4 oz goat cheese For a vegan option: Vegan cream cheese from Kite Hill is really delicious... it’s almond-based. Dress it up with some lemon zest for an extra tang like goat cheese


  • Using a cheese grater or food process to grind/shred the mushrooms, carrots, sweet potato, separately.
  • Over medium-high heat, add olive oil into pot and sweat onions. Season the onions with a little salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium while you are chopping the other ingredients.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and stir. Allow mushrooms to cook 2-4 minutes. You will hear a sizzle and that Is the water coming out of the mushrooms.
  • Add the minced garlic into the pot and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. The onions will continue to caramelize, and the mushrooms will continue to cook down.
  • Layering the flavors Is key to building this sauce.
  • Add the chopped fresh thyme and rosemary at the same time. The flavor will be more Intense as the herbs hit the hot oil.
  • Make a small well in the middle of the pot and add the tomato paste into the center of the well and cook the tomato paste in the oil. If you do not see oil in the middle of the well, add a little more oil in the middle of the well, then add the tomato paste. 
  • Cook for another few minutes until you hear the sizzle. The temperature might need to be adjusted a little higher. Listen for the sizzle. (Note: Every time you add an ingredient, it lowers the temperature in the pot)
  • Add the ground carrots and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes. If vegetables begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, you can add a touch more oil. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the grated or food processed sweet potato into the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Add the wine to the pot and cook until there is not any wine left in the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the blended tomatoes to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the basil into the pot and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the water or stock to the pot, enough to cover the vegetables in the pot.
  • Taste your sauce and add salt if needed.
  • Add hot pepper flakes if desired.
  • Add the grated parmesan cheese into your sauce.
  • Simmer (slow bubbling) the sauce for another 25-30 minutes. You want the vegetables to still have a nice bite. You might need to add a little more water as the sauce simmers.
  • The sauce should have a consistency like chili.
  • Add 1-2 tsp of vinegar.
To Plate
  • Add your desired amount of pasta Into Individualserving bowls, top with sauce, top with additional parmesan cheese, a little crumble of goat cheese and fresh basil leaves torn.
This recipe has been on my Arlo Grey menu (dinner and then brunch) since opening. We do 15 plus vegetables, using both grated, diced, and ground vegetables but I’ve simplified this version for at home focusing on one technique, less knife work, and less vegetables. Pending the season, the vegetables can change however you’d like and what is available.
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Kristen also shared with a bonus recipe with us!

Kristen Kish's Ricotta Gnudi


  • 10 oz whole milk ricotta Drained *see notes below!
  • 2 oz finely grated parmesan cheese plus a bit extra for garnish
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose or 00 flour Plus 2 TBSP and more for dusting or as needed
  • Pinch of nutmeg If you have it - can also omit
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper


  • Note about the ricotta: Whole milk/dry ricotta cheese (if the ricotta isn’t dry, place in a fine mesh strainer and allow to sit overnight in the fridge. Note: if the cheese has excess moisture the gnudi will fall apart.
  • Mix all together, shape and cook In boiling water until the dumplings float to the top.
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About Chef Kristen Kish

Kristen Kish was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Kentwood, Michigan. She worked as a model in high school and later attended Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, earning an A.A. in culinary arts. Kish competed in Bravo’s Top Chef in 2012. She made it into the main competition by surviving a soup challenge judged by Emeril Lagasse. In the finale, Kish was crowned the Top Chef, becoming the first competitor to win after winning “Last Chance Kitchen” and the second female winner in the history of the Top Chef franchise. In 2017, she released a book of recipes co-authored with Meredith Erickson, Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques. In May 2018, Kish became chef at her new restaurant Arlo Grey in Austin, Texas.


And finally, If you missed any of our other August Chef Series, you can check them out here!

by Camila Alves McConaughey