1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
16 oz. cremini mushrooms (baby bella, trimmed & sliced)
16 oz. maitake mushrooms (or wild mushroom of choice, trimmed & torn into bite-sized pieces)
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (see Recipe Notes)
2 cups vegetable stock (or broth)
1 large yellow onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped or grated)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (about 8–10 sprigs)
1 cup dry vermouth (see Recipe Notes)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz. pasta (choice)
Ground black pepper
Chopped fresh herbs
Black truffle oil
Reconstitute dried porcini mushrooms. Simply combine vegetable broth & dried porcini mushrooms in a small saucepan & simmer for about 10 minutes. Why? ⇢ This step is a total flavor booster! The warm broth softens the dried mushrooms, awakening their natural flavor & making them easy to chop up & add to wild mushroom ragu sauce. Plus, as the mushrooms reconstitute, they infuse a rich umami flavor into the broth, which is later used to build the mushroom ragu pasta.
Brown the fresh mushrooms. Start by heating some olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot like a Dutch oven. Add the fresh mushrooms, stirring occasionally until they turn a deep golden brown. This takes a little while, but it’s so well worth the time! Why? ⇢ Browning the mushrooms creates rich umami flavor, through the Maillard reaction, & the best texture – soft but not mushy, with crispy browned edges. Be sure to work in batches, as needed, to avoid overcrowding the pan!
Cook the aromatics. Once the fresh mushrooms are browned, use the same pot to cook onions until softened & fragrant. From there, add the chopped reconstituted porcini mushrooms, garlic, & fresh thyme. Why? ⇢ Cooking the aromatics releases their flavor & builds a strong foundation for the wild mushroom ragu sauce. Taking 10 minutes to get everything nice & browned creates richer flavor in the final dish.
Deglaze. Turn the heat up on the pan & pour in the dry vermouth, stirring constantly to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Simmer until the vermouth is almost completely absorbed into the aromatics – your kitchen will smell heavenly at this point! Why? ⇢ This step is known as “deglazing,” which is fancy-speak for adding a little bit of liquid to a hot pot. The steam from the liquid helps release the browned bits on the bottom of the hot pan – they’re full of flavor!
Build & simmer the mushroom ragu sauce. Build the ragu by stirring in the porcini-infused stock & grated parmesan cheese. Simmer until the ragu starts to thicken slightly. Finish by stirring in the heavy cream & browned mushrooms, then taste & add more salt or pepper as desired.
By: Jess Larson