Mushroom Bolognese


Serves 4 to 6 • Gluten-Free

Why This Recipe Works: We wanted to create a vegetarian pasta sauce that mimicked the rich, long-cooked flavor and hearty texture of Bolognese. Traditional Bolognese sauce gets its rich flavor from a combination of several types of meat, so we turned to two types of mushrooms to replicate that complexity: Dried porcini delivered depth of flavor while 2 pounds of fresh cremini gave the sauce a satisfying, substantial texture. To further round out the sauce’s savory flavor, we added two umami-rich ingredients: soy sauce and tomato paste. To make prep easy, we used the food processor both to chop the cremini roughly and then to finely chop the onion and carrot. Pulsing whole canned tomatoes in the food processor allowed us to get just the right texture. We also used red wine to lend richness and depth and a little sugar for some balancing sweetness. A dash of heavy cream at the end rounded out the sauce and gave it a decadent silkiness.

Cremini mushrooms are also known as baby bella ­mushrooms. In order for this recipe to be gluten-free, you must use gluten-free pasta and gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.

2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound fettuccine or linguine
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Working in batches, pulse cremini mushrooms in food processor until pieces are no larger than 1/2 inch, 5 to 7 pulses; transfer to large bowl. Pulse carrot and onion in now-empty processor until chopped fine, 5 to 7 pulses; transfer to bowl with mushrooms. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in now-empty processor until chopped fine, 6 to 8 pulses; set aside separately.

2. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add processed vegetables and porcini mushrooms, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until liquid has evaporated and vegetables begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Stir in garlic and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in processed tomatoes, vegetable broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened but is still moist, 8 to 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in cream.

5. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Serve with Parmesan.

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