Karen Martini’s bolognaise style mushroom ragu

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Karen Martini’s bolognaise style mushroom ragu is rich and really quite sophisticated, especially if you’re lucky enough to have access to some pine mushrooms, but big meaty field mushrooms will do just fine.

The real key to this ragu is in cooking the mushrooms first, which concentrates their flavour and adds roasted notes that you just can’t get by sauteéing them alone.

Also, the dried porcini mushrooms add depth and umami punch to the fresh mushrooms that really cements the intensity of the sauce. Serve this with any pasta – gnocchi and pappardelle are my favourites – or layer into a lasagne.

Bolognaise-style mushroom ragu

600g large field mushrooms (or any mushrooms you like, but not Asian ones), cut into rough 3cm dice
600g pine mushrooms (or any mushrooms you like, but not Asian ones), cut into rough 3cm dice
120ml extra -virgin olive oil
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
20g dried porcini mushrooms
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 fresh bay leaves
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red or brown miso paste
400ml white wine
800ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
100g pasta per person
grana padano, finely grated, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).
2. Add the fresh mushrooms to a roasting tray, drizzle over half the oil, season, toss to coat and roast for 20 minutes.
3. Soak the porcini mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes. Dice the rehydrated mushrooms and reserve the water.
4. Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining oil, the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes – as the mushrooms sweat down they will help to deglaze the pan.
6. Add the tomato paste and miso and stir constantly for two minutes.
7. Add the wine, diced porcini and porcini water and bring to a simmer. Add the stock, tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 45 minutes over low heat until the sauce is thick and intense. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
8. To serve, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and toss through the ragu in the pan. Take the pan directly to the table and serve with plenty of grana padano on the side.

Serves 6–8

Recipe extract from My Kitchen (Plum).

Recipe extract from My Kitchen (Plum).

Edited extract from New Kitchen by Karen Martini. Available now, Plum, RRP $44.99.

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