Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Angie's Mushroom Bolognese

As soon as fellow personal chef, Angie Millanti, of Every Day...Gourmet Personal Chef Service
posted her recipe for this mushroom bolognese sauce I wanted to immediately go get the ingredients to make it.

Mushroom Bolognese

Serves: 4-6

3 T butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
3 stalks celery, 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, 1 inch pieces
1 lb cremini or button mushrooms, quartered*
black pepper
1/2 c whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2
pinch nutmeg
1/2 c dry white wine (or 2 T white wine vinegar)
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, basil leaves discarded, juice reserved
3 inch square parmesan rind (optional)
1/2 t dried oregano (optional)*

In a heavy, medium Dutch oven or sauce pan heat the butter and oil over medium until butter begins to foam. Meanwhile, finely mince onion and garlic together in the food processor. Saute 5 minutes or until softened and juices are released, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, process celery and carrot together until finely minced. Add to pot and continue to saute 3-5 minutes.

Process mushrooms, in batches if necessary, to the texture of fine ground beef crumbles; you may need to scrape down the processor to get the mushrooms small enough. Add to pot with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Saute until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in nutmeg and wine or vinegar and reduce liquid by half again. Meanwhile, pulse tomatoes in the processor until they resemble crushed tomatoes but still have some texture, or to your preference. Add tomatoes, parmesan rind, and oregano and stir well. Add as much of the reserved tomato juice as you like--since we really love the flavor of tomatoes I add all the juices from the can.

Bring sauce to a simmer; reduce heat to medium low and simmer, UNCOVERED, until the water has evaporated from the sauce and the fat floats on top. This will take 1-1 1/2 hours, depending on how much tomato juice you added and how well you reduced before adding the tomatoes. Yields 3 1/2-4 cups.

* Oregano is not traditional, but it plays off the mushrooms well and adds depth. Dried savory or marjoram would be nice as well. With regard to the mushrooms, button are actually a better choice for most people; I only recommend cremini for mushroom lovers. Button mushrooms yield a sauce that looks, smells, and tastes uncannily like traditional meat ragu. Cremini yield a dark sauce with pungent mushroom notes. We like it both ways; either choice makes a good sauce.

**This recipe yields enough sauce for 1 1/2 or 2 lbs of pasta, but because we love it so much (and would rather fill up on the veggies than starchy pasta) I always toss this recipe with just one pound of pasta. Hope you enjoy!

Simple, wholesome ingredients, plus using the food processor as a sous chef, makes this a great recipe to get on the stove while baby is napping, then let it simmer away until dinnertime.

While the recipe could be made vegan by omitting the butter and parmesan rind, I really think both add a depth of flavor. I really liked the addition of the oregano as well.

I think meat eaters and vegetarians alike will enjoy this recipe. I used cremini mushrooms which really does lend a meaty, earthy taste and texture.

So, the plate could be prettier, and I could have garnished it with a little parsley and some shredded cheese. But I was so hungry after simmering this for an a few hours that I just wanted to snap the photo and dig in.

A delicious keeper! Thanks Angie!

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