I’m sure I’ve told you before, but the idea of a vegetarian dinner and Jim do not mix. Now, that isn’t to say he won’t eat and enjoy his vegetables, but in his mind, and the minds of many, many others, dinner = meat. So, knowing this, it was a risk on my part to feature this recipe from The Italian Dish as part of our Valentine’s Dinner. Though, I will say that it was a calculated risk, as it’s always easier to slip something questionable into dinner when it’s surrounded by pasta. Success! Not only did he eat it, he commented at how good it was BEFORE being asked for feedback. Yeah, that’s right.
This recipe made a pretty substantial pot of sauce, but, as the original recipe notes, freezes well for quick weeknight meals. I served over some good Italian dried pasta, but I think it would also be tasty over some cheese ravioli or even a sautéed chicken breast for those stubborn meat eaters in your life. Also, based on price, I paid $6.99 for one ounce, the dried porcini mushrooms may seem like a big splurge, but since you’re not adding meat and the rest of the ingredients are quite inexpensive, it’s worth the investment into the overall flavor of your finished sauce.
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 medium sized Celery Ribs, diced
- ½ medium Onion, diced
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper, freshly ground
- 3 clove Garlic, grated or minced
- ¾ cup Red Wine
- 1 pound Mushrooms, about 19 oz. before being stemmed (I used a mix of mostly baby bellas and some shiitake), chopped
- 1 ounce of dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups Broth, beef or Vegetable
- 1 15 oz. can Whole Tomatoes, crushed
- 1 15 oz. can Tomato Sauce or Puree
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of very warm water and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and keep the liquid. Do not use a metal mesh strainer for this step – it is not fine enough. Chop the porcini mushrooms and set aside.
- Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in a large pot in the olive oil with a big pinch of kosher or sea salt and a few grindings of pepper. Let the vegetables cook for about 8 minutes, on low heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Increase heat and add the wine. Cook for 5 minutes, making sure the wine is simmering. Add all of the mushrooms.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved porcini mushroom liquid. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour to an hour and a half, until the sauce has reduced down and a lot of the liquid has cooked off – cook until you like the thickness of the sauce. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.
- This recipe will be more than enough to coat a pound of pasta. If you don’t use all the sauce, it’s great the next day or you can freeze it.