Super Tasty Bucatini with Mushroom Bolognese

March 31, 2016


We currently have a visitor for whom I truly like to cook: My mother in law. She is very appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen and seems very happy to try out something new. With this in mind, I sat around yesterday morning, looking for inspiration. We've had several dishes containing meat in the last few days and I, personally, get tired of a diet that is heavy in meat. In fact, there are many times where I find a vegetarian dish preferable.


My wife really, really loves Ragú – those tasty Spaghetti with a meat sauce that many people call “Bolognese.” Traditionally, Ragú contains meat – and you can readily find some recipes for Bolognese on this site. There are a few vegetarian versions out there – some of which try to substitute tofu crumbles (or the like) in order to get the sauce to be similar to the real thing. Now, doing so can be fine – I've had very good results using tofu crumbles in Chili, for example. More often than not, I am not really a friend of trying to emulate some other dish – after all, why not simply make the dish you are trying to approximate?


So, not wanting a meat dish, I set out to create a vegetarian sauce that resembles Ragú without trying to copy it. I wanted a sauce that can stand on its own, not one that is a watered-down version of something else.


I think I succeeded – but you be the judge!

If Spaghetti with tomato sauce work for your picky eater with a tremendous preference for beige food, then this might work, too. It's infinitely more loaded with healthy veggies - so you can feel good about serving this dish not just to your child, but to everybody in your household - but the flavors are fairly mild and thus, should be quite palatable to even the most finicky little person.






1 lb. Bucatini or Spaghetti (I LOVE Bucatini with this dish).


3 Tbs. Olive Oil.


16 oz. mushrooms (I used white button mushrooms), cleaned and chopped.


1 large Onion, finely chopped.


3 cloves of Garlic, minced.


2 Carrots, peeled and finely diced.


2 stalks of Celery, finely diced.


5 Tbs. Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped.


½ cup Red Wine.


1 ½ lbs. ripe Tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped.


½ cup Vegetable Stock.


2 Bay Leaves.


1 tsp. Hungarian Paprika – half-sharp (not the generic stuff from the grocery store!).


2 large sprigs fresh Rosemary.




Freshly ground Pepper.


A pinch of Sugar.


Parmigiano-Reggiano – as little or as much as you like.




Let's get started:


Put a large pot or dutch oven on high heat.


Add the olive oil and give it a minute to heat up.


Add the onion.


Add the garlic.


Add the carrots.


Add the celery.


Add the mushrooms.


Stir and let saute for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.


Add the red wine and let simmer for 30 seconds.


Add the sun-dried tomatoes.


Add the fresh tomatoes.




Add the vegetable stock.


Add the bay leaves.


Add the half-sharp Paprika.


Add the rosemary sprigs.


Add ½ tsp. of salt.




Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 30 minutes while you stir occasionally.




After about 15 minutes of simmering, heat a large pot of water to a boil so that you can cook the pasta.


Add salt to your liking


Add the pasta.


Cook until al dente (or to your liking).


Drain the pasta and add a tsp. of olive oil, swirl it around so that the pasta doesn't get sticky.




By now, your sauce should be ready.


Adjust seasoning to your liking by adding salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.


Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well.


Serve immediately – and sprinkle some fresh Parmigiano on top!





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