A vegetarian pasta dish that stands up to the kind of medium-bodied, earthy, bright red wine that I want to drink this time of year. This recipe’s superstar ingredient is the magical mushroom, which, when cooked long and slow, with the fixings of a traditional Bolognese sauce, develops a similar richness and umami depth without the porky element. You won’t notice the kale or the miso, but they both provide a nice earthy savoriness that rounds out the dish. And the best part – it practically begs for a big glass of red wine, like the bright, earthy and red-fruited 2016 Haarmeyer Syrah, Mokelumne Glen Vineyard – a combination that warms the belly and soul…
- 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil + more for serving
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
- 2 cups roughly chopped kale, ribs removed
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP white miso (a generous TBSP)
- One 2-inch chunk of Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese + grated cheese for serving
- One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed (squeeze by hand)
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 12 ounces pasta (I like a fat noodle like Pici, but Spaghetti or Penne work great)
- 2 TBSP chopped parsley
- Sea salt, pepper
- 1. In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini, discarding any tough bits. Pour off and reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.
- 2. Throw the onion, carrot and kale into a food processor and chop until finely diced. In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, heat 2 TBSP oil. Add the onion/kale/carrot mixture and cook over moderate heat until light golden, about 8 minutes. Add 2 more TBSP oil and with the cremini, shiitake, chopped porcini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 TBSP of oil and stir in garlic, tomato paste and miso, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, honey and reserved porcini soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1 hour and a half. Discard the thyme sprigs; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 3. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta, pasta water and parsley to the sauce; toss to coat and simmer a few minutes. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese and a big glug of good oil.
- 4. Note: The mushroom Bolognese can be refrigerated for 2 days. Simmer to reheat with a few more glugs of oil.
I’m a mom of two young boys, a sommelier, a former restaurateur, and a passionate home cook. I believe in eating well and celebrating life every day, not just on weekends or holidays or vacation. With delicious, healthy food, good wine and family and friends gathered around the table. This is my happy place.
My goal is to inspire to get you into the kitchen, and to take the mystery out of serving wine with food. On a Tuesday night. With picky eaters, even toddlers. It’s totally doable. Especially with a glass of wine. Trust me.