Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mushroom and Tomato Ragu Recipe

I made a huge batch of this Mushroom and Tomato Ragu recipe in September using local heirloom tomatoes, fresh white mushrooms and lots of vegetables from two different farmers markets (and dried mushrooms that I picked up in Paris). After cooking for over an hour and cooling, I ladled the sauce into food saver dishes and put them in the freezer.

A vegetarian ragu, this mushroom and tomato ragu recipe is great over pasta, chicken, veal or flaky white fish. 

Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Mushroom and Tomato Ragu with whole wheat pasta and ricotta

Now that it's almost winter and my stash is dwindling, I'm ready to make another batch. My farmers market will have the colorful heirloom carrots, garlic, onion and scallions and if I'm lucky, I should also find fresh mushrooms and hothouse tomatoes. Fresh Italian plum tomatoes or good quality whole canned tomatoes from the grocery store will work.   

For a smooth sauce, remove the skin from the tomatoes, and deseed.  and cut an X into the bottom of each of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 45 seconds and remove. The skin will peel right off. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds and the core. Chop into one-inch pieces.

First, cut an X on the bottom of the heirloom or plum tomatoes.
Then, drop the tomatoes in boiling water for just under a minute. 
Remove and set aside to cool. The skins are ready to peel back and discard.
Core the tomatoes, remove and discard the seeds, and chop the tomatoes.
A rainbow of vegetables add flavor, color, texture and nutrition your sauce.

Mushroom and Heirloom Tomato Ragu

2 ounces of dried mushrooms (I used porcini), soaked, strained and diced
4 mixed color carrots (orange, purple, yellow, white), if available, diced small
6 scallions (I used purple scallions for added color, diced small
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced small
6 pounds of ripe but firm mixed heirloom tomatoes (Great White, Brandy Wine, Green Zebra, Rose, Black Prince, Yellow Roma), peeled, seeded and chopped*
8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, diced
1 medium zucchini, 1/8 inch slices cut in quarters
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt, or more, to taste
Black pepper, or if you like a spicy sauce, red pepper flakes, to taste

Soak the dried mushrooms for 20 minutes until soft. Strain mushrooms, dice and set aside. In the meantime, prepare all the vegetables, following the directions below for the tomatoes,  and set aside.Heat a large pot to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When the oil is heated, add the carrots, peppers, scallions, garlic, and onion and cook about 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, add the diced fresh mixed mushrooms. Lower flame to low and cook the mushrooms until they are wilted. Set aside. When the carrot, pepper, onion mixture is soft, add the peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes, including juices, to the large pot. Raise heat to medium-high until the tomatoes begin to simmer. Lower heat to medium. Add the soaked and diced dried mushrooms and the diced fresh mushrooms to the tomato sauce. Cook on medium heat, stirring every five minutes, allowing the juices to evaporate and the sauce to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sang Lee Farms, a specialty vegetable farm on the North Fork.  Heirloom tomatoes in red, yellow, green, purple and white, purple scallions, orange, purple, yellow and white carrots, black, green, and white peppers, striped yellow and green summer zucchini squash for the sauce.

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