The light version of mushroom bolognese that I made last night was simple and good, but I’m going to consider it a work in progress. I made it with dried shiitake and white button mushrooms because that’s what I had on hand.
Next time, I plan to use portobello mushrooms. I also plan to add finely minced carrots and celery and a little red wine and allow it to cook longer. Having said all that, last night’s Meatless Monday version, in spite of its simplicity and short cooking time, was really good.
Two important techniques are to chop the mushrooms in a food processor to replicate the ground meat normally found in a bolognese sauce, and to brown the mushrooms to bring out their meaty flavor.
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces white button mushrooms
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
1 can whole plum tomatoes in juice (28 oz.)
2 TBS tomato paste
2 TBS pesto and/or shredded fresh basil
half and half, a splash
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes
1. Saute the onion in the olive oil until it softens. Add the garlic during the last minute or so.
2. Chop the mushrooms in a food processor to get the consistency of ground meat.
3. Add the mushrooms to the onions and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have browned. Season with salt, pepper, and a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes.
4. Crush the tomatoes before adding them to the pan. Reserve the juice in case you need to thin the sauce. Add the tomato paste and pesto. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the flavors have melded. Check for seasoning. You may need more salt.
5. Add a splash of half and half and cook for another minute.
6. Serve over pasta or spiralized zucchini ribbons.