Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce (aka the best sauce I’ve ever made)

This started off as me trying to make a mushroom bolognese type thing, as a healthy compromise to the fact that I’ve basically just eaten pasta day after day for the last week. It didn’t end up being a mushroom bolognese – but rather a rich, tangy, powerful tasting sauce full of umami that honestly I could eat for days on end. We ended up eating double the amount of sauce that my picture shows. For someone that loves intense flavours, this was truly awesome – completely vegetarian, and can be made vegan if you substitute the mascarpone for a plant/soy based cream cheese, so everyone can enjoy it! Of course if you buy gluten free pasta it can also be made gluten free.

To prove my point, here is a quote I received:

‘This sauce has made it into my top three pasta sauces I have ever had in my entire life’ – Alexander O’Connor, aka my best friend and most frequent recipe taster

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, and I acknowledge this probably sounds like I’m bigging myself up way too much – this was a bit of a fluke, stemming from the fact I didn’t have many of the required ingredients to make my original sauce, and also had to use up leftover goods (i.e. the pasta sauce and the mascarpone). But this is a recipe I intend to make over, and over, and over again, and to be honest, I’m just astounded that it worked out. The first taste was almost a complete shock, the second reaffirmed that I wasn’t just being optimistic, and then the rest of the tastes happened so fast and so enthusiastically I can barely remember them. But either way, I thought it was pretty good. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 2 hungry people, however if you double the pasta this will easily stretch to even 4)

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 300g closed cap mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2tbsp heaped sun-dried tomato paste (if you can’t find pre made paste, simply crush sun-dried tomatoes in a pestle and mortar)
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 vegetable stock cube in 150ml of boiling water
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • handful finely chopped basil/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3tbsp mascarpone
  • 150g bolognese sauce (any, but I just used Aldi’s super cheap 60p one!) If you don’t have one, use passata instead and add a little salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve
  • 200g tagliatelle

Method

  1. First, heat the oil in a large saucepan pan and add the onions. Fry for about 10 minutes, and keep the onions moving so they don’t burn. Then add the garlic, and fry for another 2/3 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, boil water and cook the pasta till it is al dente – if this is dried pasta it will take between 9-13 minutes, so start cooking now, but if it is fresh, then it may only take a couple minutes, in which case start cooking a little later.
  3. Add the stock and mushrooms and cook (still stirring frequently) for about 5/6 minutes, and then add the sun dried tomato paste, the tomato paste, thyme, and basil.
  4. Finally lower the heat and add the mascarpone, stirring until fully melted down and incorporated in the sauce.
  5. Serve with the pasta and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano, and enjoy!

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