mushroom, rosemary & red wine ragù
an old recipe reborn
I recently had a bit of a falling out with mushrooms. I cooked them one too many times in the space of one too few weeks, adding them to meals that were good—because good is enough most nights—but not great. Their flavor started to become ubiquitous and predictable, until a resounding “not this again” was blurted out upon first bite. Which is a shame, because mushrooms are great. No, mushrooms are exceptional. Their myriad varieties, shapes, and textures are completely mesmerizing. Sear them, roast them, braise them, stuff them, and each time they will surprise you. So royal are mushrooms that they occupy a kingdom of life all their own.
To pull myself out of my mushroom rut, I decided to go back to basics. Fall is not fall without some sort of mushroom pasta. Last year it was a not-carbonara carbonara—cheesy, glossy, lightning fast; the year before, it was a creamy number inspired by an Umbrian classic called pasta alla Norcina. This year I wanted to go deeper, to draw out the mushrooms’ savoriness (“umami,” if we must say it), meatiness, sultriness. The mushroom gods must have heard me because as I was mulling this over, someone asked me about an old recipe I’d written for pasta with mushrooms, red wine, and rosemary. It was one of the first dishes I’d put up on my website, before I knew how to properly write a recipe (I loved using ounces, cups, and grams with reckless abandon), and I’d taken it down in the hopes that one day I’d get around to updating it. So, here we are.
Most of the time, when we talk ragù, we mean meat and we mean time. Dedicating a Sunday afternoon to an unctuous, fall-apart meat sauce is one of my favorite pastimes (don’t worry, one of those is coming your way, too). But today I’m using ragù to describe a sauce that’s rich and hearty, satisfying and comforting, deep and powerful—even without the meat and without the time. Because this recipe will check all of your ragù boxes, and you can even make it at a moment’s notice—like tonight. Needless to say, mushrooms and I are on very good terms again.
(PS: I had a really fun start to the week making pasta on Good Morning America with Michael Strahan! Check it out here!)
Mushroom, Rosemary & Red Wine Ragù
Serves 2 to 4