Monday, July 30, 2018

Mushroom Bolognese

I have recently jumped onto the "Meatless Monday" bandwagon. You may have noticed this last week when, on Monday, I posted a recipe for Portobello Burgers. I am still thinking about that burger. 

I was paging through the America’s Test Kitchen Complete Slow Cooker Cookbook, and came across a recipe for Mushroom Bolognese. Despite my having issues with those America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks (I want a cookbook that does two things, first, provides me with delicious recipes, and, second, offers beautiful pictures of what those recipes yield. America’s Test Kitchen books give me way more conversation than I could possibly want. I really don’t want or need to know why a recipe works. All I want to know is that it does.), I decided to take a chance and give it a try.

On one hand, this bolognese is more work than your usual crockpot fare. On the other, it tastes as though it has been cooking all day long on top of the stove, and doesn’t smack at all of something from the slow cooker. Not that slow cooked food is a bad thing. Heaven knows, I make a lot of it! But this is a unique dish that tastes like it was a lot of trouble. Because I was interested in a more mushroom tasting bolognese than one heavy on tomato, I eliminated one of the 14-ounce cans of tomato from their original recipe. Because I wanted a sauce that tasted rich and meaty, I only used half of the called for crimini mushrooms, substituting portobellos for the other half. I was amazed at how good this was. It has a beefy, woodsy, sophisticated taste that smacks of a high-end eatery. As I said, it’s a good bit of work, and you’re going to need to get out the food processor, but it makes four ample servings, is a company worthy dish, and you won’t miss the
Mushroom Bolognese
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Complete Slow Cooker Cookbook

1 lb. crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 lb.
Melissa’s portobello mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 14-ounce can peeled diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2-oz. pkg.
Melissa’s dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3  large garlic clothes, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Bay leaf
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pulse crimini mushrooms in food processor until pieces are no larger than 1/2 inch; transfer to a large bowl. Pulse portobello mushrooms in food processor until pieces are no larger than 1/2 inch; transfer to same bowl.  Pulse onion and carrot in food processor until finely chopped; transfer to the same bowl. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until almost smooth; set aside in separate bowl.

Heat oil in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add processed vegetables and porcini mushrooms. Cover and cook until softened, about five minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until vegetables are dry and brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, about three minutes; transfer to the slow cooker.

Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and bay leaf in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until sauce is deeply flavored, 7 to 8 hours on low for 4 to 5 hours on high.

Discard bay leaf. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons parsley for every 3 cups of sauce.

If you prefer a little meat with your pasta, you will LOVE this Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe for Da Vinci Pasta.

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