Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weeknight Mushroom Ragu

I was home alone on a Sunday night, staring down Peter Berley, Mario Batali, and some hen-of-the-woods mushrooms that I'd picked up at the farmer's market. Peter said to oven-roast the mushrooms before returning to the skillet -- too fussy for a weeknight. Mario demanded his delicious tomato sauce as a basic ingredient, and I had none on hand.

Could I make a rich, delicious mushroom ragu using only a skillet and a knife, without having so much as removed an onion from the pantry drawer, in only 30 minutes? Nah. I could do it in 25. Boys? Game on.

Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4, with whole-wheat pasta, thick slices of toasted whole-grain bread, or polenta.

2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
1 bay leaf
3 baby carrots, sliced (optional)
12-16 ounces of wild mushrooms, or a mix of wild and button mushrooms, chopped coarsely or sliced into pieces appropriate for a chunky sauce
1 c red wine
1 t salt
1.5 t thyme
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1 T butter or heart-smart margarine (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
2. Add onions. Saute about 5 minutes until golden-brown. Add garlic and bay leaf and carrots, if using.
3. Add mushrooms. Saute about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until ingredients are well-mingled and mushrooms have released most of their liquid.
4. Add wine and stir to deglaze pan.
5. Add salt, thyme, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Grind in some fresh black pepper. Reduce heat.
6. Stir in additional 1T butter/margarine, if desired. Taste to adjust salt and pepper and correct seasonings.

image shared pursuant to the GFDL

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