The Kitchn: This savory one-pot mushroom Bolognese is deeply satisfying
When I think of the ultimate comfort food, I think of a hearty Sunday sauce bubbling away on the stovetop. I can practically smell the carrots, celery, and onions mingling with a flavorful cut of meat in a large Dutch oven, slowly transforming into a rich and hearty pasta sauce.
But why should this comfort be reserved for meat-eaters? And why does it need to take all day? That’s where this Bolognese comes in. It’s everything I love about a classic, slow-cooked Bolognese — without the meat (and in a little less time too). Its surprising depth of flavor and meditative cooking process has helped me fall back in love with cooking, and I’m certain it can do the same for you too.
Dried mushrooms are the secret to an ultra-savory Bolognese
In addition to fresh cremini mushrooms, this Bolognese is made with rehydrated porcini mushrooms and their soaking liquid. The dried mushrooms give the sauce an ultra-savory boost that greatly amps up the flavor of the fresh mushrooms. If you’ve never cooked with dried mushrooms before, it’s easy: A 20-minute soak in hot water is all they need to rehydrate. As they soak, you can prep the rest of your ingredients.
When you’re ready to cook the mushrooms, don’t rush it — they need an ample amount of time to develop a savory flavor. At first it will look like they’ve released a lot of liquid, but this is normal; it will eventually cook off, leaving you with deeply browned and intensely flavorful mushrooms.
You can find dried mushrooms in most well-stocked grocery stores in the international section or near the spices. Some grocery stores offer several varieties, but porcini are the most common and what’s used in this recipe.
If you want to make this recipe vegan, feel free to use a non-dairy milk (such as unsweetened plain oat, coconut, or almond milk) in place of the cream, swap the butter for olive oil, and omit the cheese. It might not be as creamy, but it will be just as flavorful.
As for serving, I love any long noodle like fettuccine. But if your pasta isn’t your thing, you can serve this Bolognese over a bowl of soft polenta for an equally hearty meal.
Garlicky Mushroom Bolognese
Serves 4 to 6