Mushroom Bolognese
January 27, 2011
[Elaine] in vegetarian


Lots of us are trying to eat less meat but we still want to enjoy some of our favorite dishes, like a great bolognese sauce.  This recipe lets you do that and satisfy any vegetarian friends. The meaty mushrooms are a great substitute for meat and this recipe uses all the usual ingredients of a great meat sauce - wine, broth and lots of aromatic vegetables.

Mushroom Bolognese

If you don't want to use the porcini mushrooms, you can leave them out.  They just add another nice layer of flavor.  The sugar in the recipe is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes - when I make a regular bolognese sauce with meat, the fat in the meat helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes.  In this recipe, I feel you need the sugar to do that.




Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of very warm water and let sit for 20 minutes.  Strain through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and keep the liquid.  Do not use a metal mesh strainer for this step - it is not fine enough.  Chop the mushrooms.  

Saute the onion, carrot and celery in a large pot in the olive oil with a big pinch of kosher or sea salt and a few grindings of pepper.  Let the vegetables cook for about 8 minutes, on low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Increase heat and add the wine.  Cook for 5 minutes, making sure the wine is simmering. Add the mushrooms.

Add the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved porcini mushroom liquid. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour to an hour and a half, until the sauce has reduced down and a lot of the liquid has cooked off - cook until you like the thickness of the sauce.  Taste for salt and adjust seasoning.

This recipe will be more than enough to coat a pound of pasta.  If you don't use all the sauce, it's great the next day or you can freeze it. 

Article originally appeared on The Italian Dish (
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