If you need a great recipe to make for a non-meat dinner, I think this is it. I love mushrooms and this is the main ingredient for this rich sauce. There is something ‘earthy’ and meaty about them and they take on a lot of flavor depending on what you are adding with them. Mushrooms remind me of eggplant. Another great vegetable I think you can use instead of mushrooms here. I’ve noticed that people either like mushrooms or they don’t. I’m on the side of very much liking them.
Through my years of cooking I’ve learned, as I’m sure you may have too, adding salt in the beginning of cooking mushrooms brings out their moisture and instead of browning and cooking them you end up steaming them. They take on a different taste and texture. I want to brown and give them that nice golden rustic flavor and coloring. I add salt mid way through so the mushrooms have a chance to lose some of their moisture and are more apt to brown. Adding salt at the end doesn’t give the mushroom a chance to absorb the flavor and they will often taste salty.
Try something different with a nice change from a meat sauce by using mushrooms instead. They still add a wonderful browned sauté earthy complex flavor that is just as wonderful as a meat version.
2 Tbsp plus of Oil (I use Olive oil but canola or other will do)
2 Tbsp of butter
1 small Onion diced
2-3 med. to lrg Carrots
1-2 Celery Stalks, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp plus fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp plus of Italian Seasonings
2 8oz pkgs of Mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
½ cup Red Wine or Veg or Beef Broth, may need more if sauce thickens
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or Soy sauce)
1 28oz can Marzano Style Tomatoes (or two cans of fire roasted tomatoes)
1 14oz can Tomato sauce or
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Cheese, grated (optional for garnish)
Parsley, roughly chopped (optional for garnish) or Basil
Pasta – linguine or spaghetti or other preferred pasta for serving
In a saucepan, heat oil on med. heat. Add chopped onion, carrots and celery. Cook until just soft. Add garlic. Cook till fragrant. Remove and place in a bowl.
In the same saucepan, on med-high to high heat drizzle just a tad of olive oil. Add in chopped mushrooms. Cook till slightly brown and tender. Add salt and stir. Remove and place in a bowl.
In the same cooking pan add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Cook till tomatoes are soft enough to crush, about 15 minutes. If not using Marzano tomatoes, then just in the two cans of tomatoes and seasonings.
Add in vegetables, seasonings and wine and cook on med-high till the wine has evaporated by half. If not using wine, add in beef or veggie broth and cook until heated through. Add in Worcestershire sauce. Stir and continue to cook on low till all the flavors have come together, about 30 minutes. If you have more time for the flavors to develop, cook on low for additional 30 minutes. Before serving, taste and adjust for any additional seasonings, garlic and salt and pepper.
When sauce is near finish cooking, heat a large stockpot of water and add salt. When water comes to a boil add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water to add to sauce if needed.
Serve Mushroom Ragu Sauce over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley or basil or both.
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