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Pasta With Rich and Hearty Mushroom Bolognese

Pasta With Rich and Hearty Mushroom Bolognese

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: To chop button mushrooms in the food processor, roughly chop by hand, then pulse in food processor until chopped, about 8 short pulses. To chop by hand, start by breaking up the mushrooms with your fingers, crushing them and tearing apart the caps. Chop finely with a chef's knife. To chop shiitake mushrooms, cut each cap lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips, then rotate 90° and cut into fine dice.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Pasta With Rich and Hearty Mushroom Bolognese

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About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 6
Active time:45 minutes
Total time:2 hours
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: Hearty Vegan Mushroom Bolognese
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, finely chopped (see note above)
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white or red miso paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice, crushed roughly by hand or with a potato masher
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 pound short, tubular pasta like penne or rigatoni, or long wide pasta like pappardelle

Procedures

  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lay eggplant on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap loosely in foil and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until eggplant is completely softened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  2. 2

    While eggplant roasts, prepare sauce. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add sage, half of parsley, half of basil, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add red wine and bay leaves. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until wine is reduced nearly dry (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan easily), about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan and wipe out skillet.

  3. 3

    Add remaining oil to skillet and set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add button mushrooms and shiitake and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushroom liquid completely evaporates and mushrooms are well-browned all over, about 20 minutes. Add tomato paste and miso and stir to combine. Pastes will leave a light residue on the bottom of the pan. This is ok.

  4. 4

    Add canned tomatoes and cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add mixture to pot with vegetables and reduced wine. Add soy sauce and almond milk.

  5. 5

    When eggplant is cooked, remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Slit skin of eggplant and scrape out softened flesh gently with a spoon. Chop eggplant flesh into a fine puree and add to pot with sauce. Stir sauce to combine, bring to a bare simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting, and cover with lid slightly ajar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is rich and thick and flavors have fully developed, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. 6

    To serve, cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta and cooking liquid to mushroom sauce. Add remaining chopped parsley and basil (reserving a little for garnish, if desired). Cook over high heat, stirring, until sauce is rich and thick and coats every piece of pasta. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls, drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil, and serve immediately.

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