September 23, 2011

Pasta with Mushroom Marinara Sauce

I'm posting a lot later than usual due to us being really busy lately, but tonight's post is about a new dish I tossed together tonight.  It's a completely original recipe, one that came together in my mind this morning as I thought about what I was going to make tonight.

In designing this recipe, I was going for a greater depth of flavor than one usually gets from a simple red sauce.   Toward that purpose, I used flavorful porcini mushrooms in addition to the common button mushroom, I cooked down a bit of red wine, and I added three somewhat unusual ingredients, namely anchovy fillets, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a bit of Parmesan rind.  Parmesan rind is more typically used in soups, but it blended nicely into this sauce, providing a nice bit of richness. 

I'm really pleased with the results.  With all the mushrooms and the rich, thickened sauce, this was nicely filling without meat.  I used campanelle, so the pasta shapes would hold the bits of mushroom nicely, but pretty much any pasta, including spaghetti, would be fine for this dish.  Served up with a salad, this made for a really nice, and pretty fast, dinner.

Pasta with Mushroom Marinara Sauce

yield = 6 servings

3            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1            medium onion, minced
12          ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1            ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked and chopped
2            teaspoons minced garlic
1/2         teaspoon dried basil
1/2         teaspoon dried oregano
1/2         teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4         teaspoon table salt + 1 teaspoon with pasta
1/4         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2         cup Merlot (or other red wine)
1            can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1            can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1            ounce anchovy fillets
1            ounce Parmesan cheese rind, chopped.
1            tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1            pound campanelle or other pasta
              freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat olive oil to shimmering in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add the button and porcini mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have given off their moisture and said moisture has cooked off.  Add garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about 45 seconds).   Add Merlot and cook until the wine has cooked down about halfway.   Add whole and crushed tomatoes, anchovy fillets, Parmesan rind and Worcestershire sauce.  Break up the tomatoes with the side of a wooden spoon and stir to mix.  Simmer until nicely thickened, about 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, add the remaining salt to a large pot with 4 quarts of water.  Bring to a boil, add pasta and cook per package directions (10-11 minutes for al dente, in the case of campanelle).  Drain pasta, top portions of pasta with sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

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