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Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Ragu

This creamy, flavorful pasta dish makes a hearty and satisfying meatless main course. Sherry, fresh thyme and tomatoes balance with the rich mushroom flavors to create a distinctly different kind of red sauce. The richness from the cream makes grated cheese unnecessary, but a few grinds of fresh black pepper make a nice finishing touch. Serve with a salad.

Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Ragu

Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Ragu

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces rigatoni

Preparation:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, 1 minute. Do not brown. Add the mushrooms (see notes) and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the sherry and cook until partially evaporated, scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce and thyme leaves. Continue cooking, 5 to 6 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

Stir the cream and fresh parsley into the sauce, cook for 1 minute and combine with the pasta.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe Notes:
To brown the mushrooms properly avoid overcrowding the pan. Work in two batches if necessary.

The addition of a small amount of soy sauce subtly intensifies the flavors of the mushrooms.

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