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Super Tasty Bucatini with Mushroom Bolognese

Mushroom Bolognese - Mostly Beige - Recipes for picky eaters

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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