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Playing Mushroom Ragu


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 ribs celery from heart, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped or grated
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups mushroom stock (vegetable stock can be substituted)
  • 2 15-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne
  • 1 cup (about a handful) basil, torn
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Serves: 4 servings




In a large saut pan over high heat, add EVOO. When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms, allspice, bay leaf, marjoram and freshly ground black pepper.



When the mushrooms are brown, add a pinch of salt, the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and peppers, and cook 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, until it smells sweet.



Add the red wine into the pan to deglaze, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan, then add the stock, stewed tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Bring up to a bubble and simmer about 10 minutes.



While the ragout is cooking, cook the whole wheat penne: Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add some salt and the penne, and cook to al dente according to the package directions.



When the pasta is done, toss it together with the mushroom ragout. Top with torn fresh basil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.