This dish is genuinely perfect for those #meatfreemondays or if you're vegetarian and looking for a hearty, warming dish to lighten up these dark, dismal evenings. The wild and porcini mushrooms give off a wonderful earthy aroma and flavour, balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the grated carrot works to create a rich, thick sauce that could rival a spag bol anyday. I admit to having fallen in love with bucatini , a hollow pasta that's like spaghetti's bulkier cousin, it holds the sauce really well and is just scrumptious. I also love adding a hint of chili, just to keep things interesting.
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 large carrot, grated
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
tbsp of tomato puree
25g of dried wild mushrooms
25g of porcini mushrooms
100g of chestnut mushrooms, sliced chunkily
150ml of red wine
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of chili flakes
400g of bucatini pasta (or spaghetti)
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme sprigs, (no need to chop them so you can pick them out later)
parmigiano reggiano/ vegetarian hard cheese (this brand is great)
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to stand for at least 20 mins until re-hydrated.
Heat the olive oil in a wide, deep saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft and translucent
Add the grated carrot and fresh thyme and continue to saute over medium-low heat, for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce thickens too much, add the water from the dried mushrooms, which will infuse the sauce with that great earthy flavour.
Remove the dried mushrooms from the bowl and cut them finely.
Heat a small frying pan up to a medium heat, drizzle with oil and fry the chestnut mushrooms for 2 minutes. Next add the wild and porcini mushrooms and the wine. The red wine will bubble and simmer, continue cooking the mushrooms in the wine until it has evaporated and the mushrooms are fully cooked. Add all the mushrooms to the sauce and turn the heat down until the sauce is bubbling gently.
Bring a large pan of water to boil. Salt generously. Cook the bucatini pasta until al dente which will take about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce, topped with grated parmigiano reggiano.