Mushroom Lover's Marinara
2 hr 5 min
30 min
4 to 6 servings
2 hr 5 min
30 min
4 to 6 servings


  • A handful of dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 cup chicken stock/poaching liquid from Poached Chicken, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup EVOO 
  • 1/4 pound guanciale or bacon, chopped 
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano (scant 1/3 palmful) 
  • 1 fresh chile pepper, such as Fresno, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried flakes 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1/2 cup marsala or dry red wine 
  • One 28- to 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes 
  • 2 cups passata or tomato sauce 
  • A few leaves of basil, torn, plus extra for garnish 
  • 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • Grated pecorino cheese, for topping 
Poached Chicken
  • One 4-to 5-pound chicken
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Herb bundle of parsley, rosemary and thyme tied with a string
  • Salt


Place the porcini mushrooms in a pot, cover with the stock and bring to a simmer. Reconstitute to tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and chop; reserve with the liquid.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the guanciale and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, add the remaining EVOO, a few turns of the pan, and add the cremini mushrooms to brown, 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, marjoram or oregano, chile, salt and pepper, stir 1 to 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and stir a minute more. Add the marsala or wine and the reserved porcini stock, minus a few spoonfuls where grit may have settled. Add the porcini, guanciale or bacon and the tomatoes (break up tomatoes a bit); stir in the passata and, a few leaves of basil and simmer over low heat 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to thicken and combine flavors. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal. Reheat the sauce, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

To serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta, add salt and cook the pasta to al dente, reserving a cup of starchy cooking water just before draining. Return the pasta to the hot pot and add the butter and half of the sauce; toss to combine, adding some starchy cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls with the remaining mushroom marinara on top; garnish with lots of cheese.

Poached Chicken

Place the chicken in a large stockpot. Add the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, lemon, bay leaf, peppercorns and the herb bundle; season with salt. Cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to a low, rolling simmer. Simmer 60 to 75 minutes, then cool the chicken in its stock. Strain the stock. Remove the chicken in large pieces from the skin and bones. Cut half of the meat into bite-size chunks. Thinly slice or pull the remaining meat.

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