This rustic dish—inspired by our resident recipe writer Asha's recent trip to Italy—pairs rich, nutty Pumpkin Torchio pasta (made with 30% pumpkin purée) with an earthy ragù of wild mushrooms flavored with woodsy herbs like sage and thyme.
The ragù gets a triple dose of umami from slow-cooked soffritto (onions, carrots and celery simmered in olive oil until caramelized), dried porcini mushrooms and Sicilian tomato paste.
Cook's note: The soffritto recipe will make more than you need for the ragù. The leftover soffritto will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator—add a spoonful or two to sauces, soups or stews for instant depth and richness.
Recipe by Asha Loupy. This recipe was originally published on Oct. 7, 2017.
To make the mushroom ragù, add the dried porcini mushrooms to medium bowl, top with 2 cups of boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms, reserving the mushroom soaking liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.
Heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high. Add the fresh mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they start to caramelize, about 5-6 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the reserved chopped rehydrated mushrooms, garlic, sage and thyme and continue to cook for another minute. Stir in a 1/4 cup of the reserved soffritto, tomato paste, flour, salt and pepper, and continue to cook until for another 2 minutes.
Add the white wine, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the wine has reduced by three-quarters, about 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and the beef or vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until the sauce is thickened and all the flavors have melded, about 35-40 minutes (if the sauce starts getting too thick when it is cooking, stir in a little extra stock a quarter cup at a time). Taste and adjust seasonings, adding another spoonful of soffritto, a pinch of salt or sprinkle of pepper, as needed. Keep warm while the pasta cooks.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pumpkin torchio pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of pasta cooking water.
Increase the heat under the mushroom ragù to medium and add the pasta and a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce (if the sauce is too thick, add another splash or two of pasta cooking water). Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy!
Heat the olive oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and stir to coat the vegetables in the olive oil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden brown and starting to caramelize, about 30-40 minutes. Transfer cooked soffritto a clean jar and set aside.