A few months ago I was issued a challenge… as a Facebook group, the Serious Eats Water Cooler, we love to challenge ourselves and someone suggested Sunday Sauce. Sunday Sauce is what my Italian-American friends call the rich, tomato sauce made by a nonna slaving over a stove during a whole day for her whole family to enjoy around her dinner table on Sunday evening.
I am not a nonna, I am not Italian and I am not slaving over a stove to cook anything for a Facebook group challenge… but I am fascinated with mushrooms and I have been trying to find a recipe to use dehydrated mushrooms since that lasagna I made for my nephew’s birthday. I bought dried porcini mushrooms to add to the recipe and I completely forgot.
It occurred to me I could make a version of the traditional meat sauce, bolognese, but using mushrooms instead. A vegetarian Bolognese!!!! I am sure there must be at least 1 vegetarian in Bologna that would approve of this recipe!!!
In a completely unrelated Facebook group story… I learned that Sclafani Tomatoes are some of the best, if not THE BEST, canned tomatoes available. I am not too fond of eating anything canned, but these tomatoes were supposed to be brought in from Italy, in cans lined so the metals are not absorbed by the tomatoes. And there they were!!!! At my sister’s farmer’s market… Sclafani tomatoes on sale!!!! I thought it was a notice from The Universe that I was meant to make this mushroom Bolognese, or else!! And I do not like to go against the flow of The Universe…
I wish I had better pictures, but I just could not keep this recipe for myself any longer…
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped finely 2 celery ribs, chopped finely ½ large onion, diced Salt and Pepper 2 tbs olive oil 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced ¾ cup white wine vinegar ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 1 lb white button mushrooms, chopped 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 1 Knorr vegetable stock gel 1 can of Scalfani whole tomatoes, crushed by hand 2 bay leaves 2 teaspoons of brown sugar 2 tsps dried oregano 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of very warm water and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or a coffee filter. In a pinch, I have also used a paper towel to separate the liquid from the solids left behind.
- Reserve the liquid. Measure the reserved porcini mushroom stock and add some water to complete 1½ cups of liquid all together. Set aside, we’ll use it in the recipe later on. Chop the reconstituted porcini mushrooms and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion, carrot and celery and season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes and lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute.
- While the large pot is cooking the vegetables… In a separate pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the white mushrooms. Let them cook without touching them to allow them to brown a bit. After they’ve acquired some color to them, add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms. Deglaze the pan using the white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked mushrooms to the large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved porcini mushroom liquid. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half, until the sauce has reduced down and a lot of the liquid has cooked off – cook until you like the thickness of the sauce. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.
- Take out the stems of thyme before serving. Serve with your favorite pasta…
This recipe makes A LOT of sauce… more than I would normally make just for myself. There were 4 of us adults and we were eating pasta for a few days!!!!! So feel free to halve this recipe if you want to or just use as much sauce as you’d need for one meal and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later on.
The flavor is intense!!!! Very rich and very satisfying. One of the best tomato sauces I’ve ever made… by far. I am guessing it’s all the umami from the mushrooms… this is a recipe to keep!!!!