Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mushroom Ragout

JT says this is one of his favorite dishes I've ever made! I'm pretty sure it was inspired by the classic Italian sauce starter (onion, garlic, tomatoes), but I absolutely love mushrooms. Even though it has heavy Italian influences, I call it a Mushroom Ragout because French names sound fancy. It's vegetarian, takes less than 20 minutes but JT says serving it with grilled tilapia or chicken would taste delicious, too!


Pasta (I used orecchiette, but penne or linguine would work great, too!)
EVOO, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 cups spinach leaves
Parmesan cheese
white wine (optional)


Bring a pot of cold water to a boil, add salt to the boiling water, and cook pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, drizzle EVOO on the bottom of your saute pan, and once heated at medium high heat, add onions and stir frequently until almost transparent. When the onions are pretty much cooked, add garlic and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes later, add the mushrooms, plus a little salt and pepper, and stir until they darken and release their natural juices.

Add spinach leaves (about three handfuls or more: they will wilt down severely) and pour tomatoes over it with about half of their juices. I've added about 1/2 cup white wine at this time before for flavor, but it tasted much better this time without it, we thought. Maybe it's because I was using dry wine, and I am not a huge fan of that flavor. If you choose to add white wine, don't add any of the tomato juices. You may wish to salt and pepper again, or add red pepper flakes for a little kick. With red pepper flakes, it's best to start very small and add to taste, depending on how spicy you like your cuisine.

Stir until spinach has wilted and pan liquids are simmering (and hopefully reducing). Dial heat down to medium or medium low and add parmesan cheese about 1/4th cup at a time until your ragout has thickened. If it becomes too thick and difficult to stir, simply add a little pasta water.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce, but make sure your ragout is proportionate to your noodles. JT likes to have 1.5:1 ratio of noodles to sauce, but I like mine to be about 1:2 with more ragout than noodles.



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