I would never go so far as to say that an all-vegetable dish could actually fool a meat-lover, but there are some that I believe would wholly satisfy the most ardent of carnivores, and this is one of the few and far between. That’s not to say other meatless dishes aren’t tasty or satiating, just that this one particularly rich, earthy and satisfying. If he were to come knocking, I would go so far as to serve this Hugh Glass, aka the indestructible and perpetually famished outdoorsman in the fascinating movie The Revenant that’s up for 12 Oscars next month.
After searching high and low online, I finally just turned to a favorite Bolognese recipe that I first came across in the Epicurious bookazine Italy, which I reference regularly, and made educated adaptations. Including opting out of using rehydrated dried mushrooms, which appear in many mushroom ragu recipes, and using chicken broth in place of the mushroom broth that’s created through rehydrating. Rosemary and red wine in addition to the broth creates a warmth and depth of flavor and the fresh cooked mushrooms combined with finely diced carrots make a hearty texture.
The recipe worked out beautifully – I’m glad I put my trust into the tried and true hand chopping and step by step cooking that goes into our favorite Bolognese. This version is much different of course being meatless and including rosemary, but it is equally as reliable.
Last note – the mushroom ragu will last in the fridge for up to three days. I do not recommend freezing, I think the mushrooms might get a little weird upon defrosting.
Hands-On Time: 25 Minutes
Special Equipment: Heavy bottomed large pot or Dutch Oven
- 1&1/2 – 2 Lbs Mixed Mushrooms
- 2 Large Carrots, Finely Diced
- 1 Celery Stalk, Finely Diced
- 1 Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
- 2 Tbsp Butter Or Olive Oil
- 2 Tsp Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Whole Sprig Fresh Rosemary
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms and brush caps to remove any loose dirt.
- Slice all the mushroom caps into approx 1/4″ slices.
- Heat butter over medium heat in the Dutch Oven, then add the chopped rosemary.
- Add the carrots, celery and onion and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the mushrooms and gently fold into the vegetable mixture. Cook until volume is reduced by a little more than half, about another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to throughly incorporate.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil, again stirring to mix liquid throughout.
- Add the chicken broth, rosemary sprig and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
- Season with salt and pepper, partially cover (leave a small steam vent) and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Stir once more and add any additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately over pappardelle pasta or polenta, with fresh parmesan cheese. (My favorite polenta recipe can be found here. I typically the butter and parmesan measurements way back, and it’s still delicious.)