October 10, 2011

Pappardelle with Rosemary and Mushroom Ragu: A Rustic, Easy, Weeknight Meal

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Mushrooms are great. They are the perfect compromise for meat lovers trying to eat more healthy, because they've got a great texture and a deep rich flavor. And when you cook them long and high, that flavor and texture intensifies and creates a rich luxurious base for a ragu.

We've made mushroom sauces before, but that sauce was a bit lighter and brighter. This mushroom and rosemary ragu gives a deep, rich, almost "woodsy" (yep, woodsy  - we're inventing descriptive terms here now) flavor that makes for a delicious fall flavor experience.

As we mentioned on Friday, we're getting ready for our trip to China and as such are going to be gorging on Italian food this week. Less than a week away, we're getting excited but a little nervous. If you have any suggestions on things to see or do while we're there, please let us know in the comments!

Now onto the dish!

Making the Dish

Shiitake and cremini mushrooms, rinsed clean.

If you don't have a nice chunky tomato sauce on hand, start by making one (or going to the store and getting a good one). With the tomato sauce prepared, prepare your other key ingredients. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice. Then chop up the cremini mushrooms into various shapes and sizes. You're going for texture here, and they'll cook long enough that you don't need to worry about even cooking.

Sliced shiitake mushrooms

Smash up two cloves of garlic, but do not chop. Then, mince up some fresh rosemary. Finally, rinse and chop some fresh Italian parsley. With that, the chopping is done! Nice and easy for a weeknight.

Simmering the smashed garlic in olive oil

In a non-stick pan, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil and throw the garlic cloves in there, cooking over medium heat until the garlic gets nice and soft but not burned. If you smell the garlic starting to burn at all, remove from heat. You don't want it to get bitter.

Simmering the garlic, mushrooms, and rosemary over medium heat. 

Once the garlic has softened, add the mushrooms and rosemary to the pan with a touch of salt and cook on medium high heat. Let sit on one side for about 5 - 7 minutes so that the mushrooms will start to caramelize slightly. They'll start to exude their liquids after a few minutes of cooking and you'll want to cook right on through this until the liquid has evaporated. Toss them and continue to cook until nicely caramelized yet still tender. Feel free to taste one just to be sure.

Adding the tomato sauce and parsley to the long cooked mushrooms

Add the tomato sauce and the chopped parsley to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Let simmer on low heat while the pasta cooks.

Waiting patiently for dinner

We used pappardelle for this dish, and were actually able to find a dried version which was great because it was 1) less expensive than buying fresh and 2) came in a package large enough to have leftovers for a second meal.

The pappardelle gives you a lot of surface area to take on the sauce and is really the perfect compliment for a ragu. If you can't find pappardelle though, you could definitely substitue for tagliatelle/fettuccine, or a big noodle like rigatoni. Or if you wanted to get adventurous, you could even take some lasagna noodles and break them up, making a home made maltagliati.

Simmering the mushroom and rosemary ragu while the pappardelle cooks

Cook the pasta until it is slightly less than al dente, about a minute shy of the package directions. Then move the noodles to the mushroom cooking pan, add a touch of the pasta water, and over high heat, toss everything together to combine until the noodles have absorbed the loose sauce.

Adding the cooked pappardelle to the mushroom ragu

Serve with grated pecorino romano cheese and enjoy!

The Result
As we mentioned earlier, this is a great way to fool yourself that you're eating a vegetarian dish. The mushrooms are so meaty and flavorful after the long high cook, and the rosemary gives it a very rustic flavor.

It's a wholly satisfying meal, quick to make, and inexpensive to prepare. A great meal for any night of the week!

Let us know about your favorite way to prepare mushrooms in the comments!

Click through for the full ingredient list

Pappardelle with Rosemary and Mushroom Ragu

Written by:

A delicious, quick and easy mushroom based ragu.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

(Serves: 2)

1/2 lb pappardelle
1.5 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1.5 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups basic tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste


  1. I love upside-down Herbie!!!!
    My cat also lies that way - on her back, front paws tucked up and little back paws curled. It's adorable and hilarious.
    As usual, I love the pictures and the recipe. I feel that I've had a shortage of mushrooms recently and this will fill that gap nicely. Thanks!

  2. I'm salivating looking at this. Can't wait to get home and try this tonight!

  3. Thanks guys! Glad you like it. Ashley - yes, we LOVE that picture! Jess - hope it turns out well. Let us know!

  4. yum! This looks so delicious. I love pasta with mushrooms. Herbie looks pretty darn fantastic too!


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