Mushroom Bolognese “Pasta”

Please forgive me for the excessive amount of pasta photography you are about to endure.

I just watched Blue is the Warmest Color on Netflix and in the film, there were extended scenes of people eating delicious bolognese. It’s a French film, so you have to be okay with reading the subtitles, but I enjoyed reminiscing of my visit to Paris last year and I was obsessing over the pasta.

It looked so good in the movie.  They were eating and talking and drinking and I swear I think I dreamed about bolognese.

I wanted to make a hefty bolognese-like sauce, but with veggies and lightened up with spiralized zucchini noodles so that I could eat a massive amount of “pasta.” (I know people use the term “zoodles” but I just can’t.) I bought the Paderno Spiralizer last year and it is perfect for pasta lovers. There is a great blog called Inspiralized that has so many different recipes and she really inspired me to buy one.

I’ve used it with sweet potatoes for a broccoli rabe and white bean pasta, I’ve made rosemary potato latkes (YUM) but it really works great with zucchini. I like to heat up the noodles in the sauce a bit so that they warm through — and laying them on a paper towel pre-sauce to dry out helps them keep a pasta-like texture.

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Okay, so this mushroom bolognese is pretty good. Does it taste like a traditional stick-of-butter, creamy, meaty bolognese? No. I don’t want to fool you and you should definitely have that every once in a while, but this veggie-packed bolognese will still fill you up and you will feel good eating it.

I didn’t have onions on hand and I really just could not bring myself to go to the grocery store. I was so annoyed with myself already because I had to go back yesterday for laundry detergent (ugh) and 3 days in a row was not going to happen. One time — and this is not even an exaggeration — I went to the store 3 times in one day. I kept forgetting stuff that I could not go a day without. Like milk. Because the day does not start without coffee. And then, as I was pulling out onto the street from the parking lot, on my second grocery run, I realized I also forgot toothpaste. I had no choice. I nearly rolled my eyes to the back of my head.

I wonder if anyone has been blinded by excessive eye-rolling. If so, I may seriously be at risk.

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So this was going to be a makeshift mushroom bolognese. I was not taking “grocery store” for an answer.

Onion, carrot and celery. The Tuscan trifecta. This gives those sauces that sweet and savory base. I only had one, but if you make this you’ll want to at least have carrots and onion. I just added a little bit more garlic (tragedy) and chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, wine and a splash of broth. Cooked it down and voila (how appropriate!!)

I ate the entire bowl in that photo and it made me so happy. Isn’t it crazy that this pasta seriously consists of 2 zucchini, handful of mushrooms and tomatoes, 1 carrot and some wine?! I know. How is that even real?! Well, and some grated cheese. And I was pretty generous with the wine, because I was drinking it and “more wine,” is never a bad idea, but mostly because it gave a depth that would have otherwise been missing without the salty meat.

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Mushroom Bolognese “Pasta”

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful baby bella mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • half of 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes OR pint crushed fresh tomatoes*
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized on smallest blade OR use pasta and say screw it.
  • grated parmigiano-reggiano (look for the authentic rind!)
  • fresh basil, chopped

Heat chopped onion, carrot and celery in a well-oiled pot on medium heat. Cook until onions become translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are browned and vegetables are fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Add more oil if needed and season with pepper, crushed red pepper and any dried herbs here at this point. Add wine to deglaze the pan, it should sizzle and begin to reduce. Let wine cook off, then add tomatoes. Keep at a simmer for as long as you can stand it! 15-20 minutes minimum. Take off heat and fold in your pasta (obviously cooked pasta if you are using the real deal.) Toss with cheese and plate. Top with fresh basil and more cheese.

I just got an idea — this would be a great one-pot pasta! With the real thing of course. Just add extra liquid for the pasta to cook in.. Any takers?

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