Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mushroom Ragout (Mushroom Sauce With Tomatoes)

Here is a basic Mushroom-Tomato Sauce that can be used in myriad ways - over casseroles, pasta, rice dishes, polenta, etc. I use half white button and half brown crimini mushrooms. If you like a strong mushroom flavor, use a little more dried mushrooms, up to 2 ounces. Dried Porcini mushrooms are available in most markets.


1/2 oz. package dried Porcini Mushrooms
2 cups hot water
1 lb. fresh Mushrooms, Portobello, crimini, or white button (a mixture is fine too)
1 clove Elephant OR 2 cloves Regular Garlic, minced
2 Shallots, minced - about 1/4 cup
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 sprigs EACH Fresh Thyme and Marjoram or Oregano
1/4 tsp dried Red Pepper flakes
2 Tbsp Unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
4 medium Tomatoes, seeds removed and pureed
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Lemon juice or Red Wine Vinegar


Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and soak in the hot water for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out the hydrated mushrooms but save the soaking liquid. Strain the soaking liquid into another bowl without stirring so as not to disturb the sediment and grit at the bottom and set aside. Chop the soaked mushrooms.

Wash the fresh mushrooms and quarter them; if they are very big cut into smaller pieces and if very small leave whole or just halve them.

Heat a large skillet and add the oil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.

Stir in the fresh mushrooms with the salt and cook stirring until the mushrooms exude their juices.

Keep stirring and cooking the mushrooms until the juices evaporate and the mushrooms brown a little.

Add the garlic, shallots and the herb sprigs and cook for a couple of minutes until the shallots soften.

Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture in the skillet and cook for another couple of minutes or until the flour is incorporated well and has browned a little.

Stir in the chopped hydrated mushrooms and mix well.

Add the tomato puree to the skillet and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Add the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms, stir well, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.

Stir in parsley, the lemon juice or vinegar to taste and more salt/pepper to taste if needed.

Serve hot.