The only one who usually eats pasta in this house is my son, and frankly he can eat enough of it for all of us if I let him! We call him a “pastaterian.” I came across a Food and Wine recipe entitled Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese that I based this recipe on. I changed several things, most importantly I added ground beef and a little chicken breast sausage to 3/4 of the the recipe to satisfy my son who was craving a meaty Bolognese sauce but still left lots of vegetables in to make it healthier than a traditional almost all beef sauce. I also left 1/4 of it vegetarian to satisfy my daughter. The original recipe also called for eggplant but since I added meat I left out the eggplant. Overall we all really liked how both the meat and the vegetarian versions tasted. I noted where you can add the meat or leave it out depending on your preferences. Note: The quantities may look large in the pictures because I doubled the recipe so I can serve it again for a kid party in a couple of days.
Mushroom (and Beef) Bolognese
Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce that can also have lean ground beef and mild chicken breast sausage added to it for a more traditional but vegetable-laden bolognese sauce
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice
- one small onion, small dice
- 2 carrots, peeled and small dice
- 3/4 lb lean grass-fed ground beef –IF it will not be vegetarian.
- 1/4 lb mild ground chicken breast sausage —Note: This may be hard to find, at Whole Foods they made this up for me, just ask you butcher, or just use plain ground chicken breast or pre-made chicken sausage or lean ground beef. I think spicy chicken sausage would be really good except for my spice phobe… so I used the mild sausage.–IF it will not be vegetarian.
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, small dice
- ½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced
- kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon mild white miso (this is surprising but turned out to be worthwhile)
- one 2-inch chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
- one 14.5 oz can crushed peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
- one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
- 3 thyme sprigs (or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I probably add more, but I don’t measure)
- ½ teaspoon sugar (or honey, to cut the tomato acidity)
- 1 package of fresh tagliatelle pasta (or pasta of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (I think fresh is important here, dried basil really doesn’t taste the same, but do what you can)
- In a small bowl, cover the porcini mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms, discarding any tough bits. Drain mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms finely.
- In a large pot (I like to use an enameled cast-iron casserole, it cleans up easily) heat 1–2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Add additional oil if needed and then add the ground beef if using, chicken sausage if using, cremini, shiitake and chopped porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, oregano, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer.
- Halfway cover the pot and cook over low heat so it simmers gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1–1.5 hours. Discard the thyme and oregano sprigs (if using fresh herbs); season the sauce with salt and pepper and more oregano and thyme if needed.
- In a pot of boiling water (salt optional), cook the pasta until al dente. Drain
- Add the pasta and chopped basil to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.
March 16, 2017