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Meat sauce without the meat? Even carnivores will take to this rich, flavorful pasta dinner

Alli Berkey, America's Test Kitchen on

We amped up the “meatiness” in this vegetarian pasta sauce by using a full pound of savory cremini mushrooms and a hefty amount of tomato paste.

Rigatoni with Quick Mushroom Bolognese

Serves 4

1 pound rigatoni

3/4 teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking pasta

1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped fine

1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1/4 cup tomato paste


3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

2. Meanwhile, pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms, onion, carrot, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook until mushrooms appear dry and begin to stick to the bottom of the skillet, about 14 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook until fond forms on the bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved cooking water and bring to boil. Add sauce and cheese to pasta in the pot and stir to combine. Serve with extra cheese.

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