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Portobello and Spinach Bolognese

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 40 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms or mixed wild mushrooms

2 cups water or chicken stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

4 large portobello mushrooms, gills scraped, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped or grated

1 small rib celery, finely chopped

3 to 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 fresh bay leaf

1 (10-ounce) box organic chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in kitchen towel

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup whole milk

1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine pasta

A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese


  1. Place the dried mushrooms in small pot and cover with water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and steep.
  2. Heat a heavy pot over medium to medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan extra-virgin olive oil. When hot, add the butter and melt into the oil then add portabellas. After 6 minutes, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute until tender, 15 minutes, then separate and add spinach. Season the spinach mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Deglaze with wine. Remove the dried mushrooms from the steeping liquid. Chop the mushrooms and stir into the sauce. Add the steeping liquid, reserving the last few spoonfuls as any grit on the mushrooms will have settled at the bottom. Stir in the milk. Simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Cool completely and store for a make-ahead meal.
  3. Reheat the dish over medium heat. Add a little stock or milk to loosen the sauce up again.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with sauce. Serve in shallow bowls, topped with parsley and Pecorino cheese.

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