CLASSIC pasta mushroom ragu








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 A rich and flavorful ragu that is excellent with polenta, and as a sauce for gnocchi or cheese ravioli. It is also good with both dry and fresh pastas such as penne and pappardelle. By using vegetable stock rather than chicken stock, it is, of course, a vegetarian dish.

for the sauce:

  • one quarter cup olive oil
  • two tablespoons of butter
  • two garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • one-half ounce of dried porcini
  • two pounds of fresh mushrooms, white, crimini, shitake, etc. (can be mixed)
  • one large onion, chopped fine
  • one teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • one teaspoon chopped sage
  • one bay leaf
  • one tablespoon tomato paste
  • one-half cup of Marsala
  • one cup chicken or vegetable  stock
  • one-quarter cup heavy cream
  • one tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Soak the porcini in a cup of warm water for thirty minutes. Take out of the water and squeeze them dry, and then slice them into thin strips. Save the liquid, straining it to get rid of the grit, and set aside.

Wipe the mushrooms clean, and then cut off the stems. Slice the mushrooms in thin slices, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy, deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. As soon as the butter is melted, add garlic and let it sizzle, about a minute. Add the onion and cook until the onion is slightly tender, about four minutes. Add the rosemary and sage and the bay leaf and cook for another minute.

Increase the heat to medium high and add all the mushrooms. Add the teaspoon of salt and several twists of the pepper mill. Saute until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid that the mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add the tomato paste and stir. Remove the bay leave.

Turn the heat down to medium. Add the Marsala and let the alcohol evaporate, about two minutes. Add the broth and the reserved mushroom liquid and let simmer for about thirty minutes. The liquid should be reduced to a third. (If it gets too dry, add a touch more broth).

Add the heavy cream and the parsley and stir well. Ready to serve.



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