Last Monday, my husband and I arrived home from a three-week honeymoon in Italy where our primary activities were eating, visiting duomos, eating, dodging Smart Cars, eating, staring uncomprehendingly at 46,000 paintings of Madonna and Child, and, if I haven't already mentioned it, eating.
In a somewhat stunning twist, I only gained five pounds on the trip. ("Somewhat stunning" because I was sure the number was closer to 50.) You know what, though? That's OK. The break was essentially a 20-day pasta binge. And if there's anything I like more than my new life partner, it's obscene amounts of fresh pappardelle.
Now that we're home, I'd like to keep enjoying that pasta, but without the accompanying tightening of my Levis. Fortunately, there's Mushroom "Bolognese" from Eating Well.
Easy to make and blessedly light, the sauce is a hearty, veggie-packed weeknight alternative to meat-heavy ragú. The flavor deepens after a few nights in the fridge, and a sprinkling of parmesan gives it even more depth.
Note: Since this is a relatively quick-cooking sauce recipe, you have to pay attention to its size specifications. Make sure your vegetables are truly finely chopped, and that your sauté pan is medium (10 inches), and no larger. These steps will ensure your carrots cook all the way through, giving them a hearty bite instead of a raw crunch.
In the meantime, here's to being back in the U.S., where the drinks are iced, the cars are not so smart, and the pasta sauce is still pretty darn good.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 10 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14.4-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
In a 10-inch heavy-bottomed skillet pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallots, carrot, and mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have reduced and their liquids have almost evaporated, about 12 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Serve with wide, flat pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle or ridged pasta like rotini or rigatoni.