|Spaghetti with Mushroom Ragù|
I prepared this dish out of curiosity, more than anything. This is a Lidia Bastianich recipe but Anne Burrell has a version in her cookbook too, which leads me to believe that this is a common dish in Italy.
Explore a common Italian dish
Adapted from pages 106-107 of Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (I used a mixture of oyster and cremini mushrooms)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary, approximately 4-inches long
1 large sprig fresh sage with 4 or more leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large shallots, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry Marsala wine
4 cups homemade chicken stock, warmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4-pound dried spaghetti
Freshly grated parmigiano and chopped fresh Italian parsley (for garnish)
1. Finish your mise en place: Soak the dried porcini in the warm water for thirty minutes. Once reconstituted, remove porcinis with a slotted spoon and squeeze out excess water back into the warmed water and reserve. Slice the porcinis into thin pieces no more than 1/4-inch wide. Clean and slice the mixed mushrooms into the same 1/4-inch wide pieces. Tie the thyme, rosemary and sage together with a piece of kitchen twine to form an herb bundle. Fire your salted pasta water(6-8 quarts) over high heat.
2. Prepare the mirepoix: Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted add the shallots and onion, then season with salt. Sweat until softened, approximately 6 minutes. Add all mushrooms (mixed and porcini) evenly to the pan. Season again with salt and add the herb bundle. Cover the pan and raise the heat to medium-high, shaking the pan frequently so the mushrooms release their juices, approximately 3 minutes. Uncover and raise the heat to high, stirring continually until the mushrooms shrink and the juices evaporate, approximately 5 minutes. Once the pan is dry, create a well in the middle and drop in the tomato paste. Stir the paste and toast for a minute then stir it into mushrooms.
3. Simmer the ragù and boil the pasta: Deglaze the pan with the Marsala. Stir until the wine thickens and evaporates. Pour in the mushroom water and half of the chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring to release any remaining fond. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover for approximately 20 minutes, adding stock when necessary to keep the mushrooms submerged. Uncover and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes, continuing to add stock when needed. Drop the spaghetti into the pasta water and boil for 1 to 2 minutes less than the box instructs. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.Once the mushrooms are tender and the sauce thickens, remove from heat and discard the herb bundle. Drain the pasta once completed and add to the ragù, stirring to blend the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with parmesan and parsley.
When she tried this dish, Mrs. Stuntman said she missed her meats but had great flavor. I actually only used half of the ragù, partially because I did not boil that much pasta that particular evening, but more importantly, Chef Bastianich noted that it could be stirred into a risotto or polenta.