PASTA WITH CREMINI MUSHROOM RAGU

I could have added the denomination VEGAN to the title of this post, but was afraid to cause The Great Bewitching Exodus of 2021. So, yes, it is a vegan recipe but will please any omnivore around. Phil and I included. It is hearty, satisfying and with a depth of flavor that will surprise you. I started from a recipe published by America’s Test Kitchen, but I am a lot happier with my considerably modified version.

VEGAN MUSHROOM RAGU
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large stalks celery
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup texturized soy protein (I used this one)
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Reserve about 1 cup of cremini mushrooms whole. Working in batches, pulse the remaining cremini and shiitake mushrooms in food processor until pieces are about 1/2 inch in size. Transfer to a bowl. Pulse the carrots and celery in the food processor, add them to the bowl with the mushrooms. Add the can of tomatoes with the juices to the processor and run it until smooth. Reserve.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add processed vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Mushrooms will release liquid, so keep cooking until it seems dry. Stir tomato paste, cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add the wine and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, texturized soy protein, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and more salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each). Simmer for 5 minutes, quarter the reserved cremini mushrooms and add to the sauce. Simmer everything together gently for about 10 minutes.

Adjust seasoning, and serve over cooked pasta of your choice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You are probably not very thrilled about the texturized soy protein, as it is one exotic ingredient to buy, but I’ve made this recipe without it and the difference in texture is quite striking. I highly recommend you include it. If you want to omit it, add a little water to the sauce and simmer it longer. I also recommend that you get the brand I bought because it is apparently the best one out there.

It is tempting to compare it with Bolognese sauce, but I rather not go there. Let me just say you won’t be disappointed if you try this version, and it’s something that might come in handy if you want to entertain a person who is vegetarian or vegan. I’ve made it three times so far, and it will show up again at our table, maybe as a lasagna version.

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