Homemade Mushroom Ragu slow simmered. The perfect vegetarian fall pasta meal from The Kitchn Cookbook. Via Macheesmo.

Savory Mushroom Ragu

Homemade mushroom ragu tossed with rigatoni. One of the best vegetarian pasta sauces I've had. From The Kitchn Cookbook.

Welcome to Cookbook Week on Macheesmo! I’ll be posting recipes from five cookbooks this week and giving away copies! All winners will be announced next Friday (11/14).

I figured it would be good to contrast yesterday’s post (Meat Book) with a vegetarian recipe from a new, lovely cookbook! While I am a contributor over at The Kitchn, I had exactly zero to do with the cookbook.

More on the cookbook below in the giveaway section, but right now let’s talk mushrooms.

Mushrooms are my all-time favorite vegetarian substitute when I want something to taste meaty without all the meat. That’s why I use a ton of mushrooms in my favorite veggie burger recipe. Using the same concept, this ragu (which would traditionally be made with beef or pork) is completely delicious. It has tons of savory flavor and will leave your kitchen smelling like an Italian restaurant.

My official taste-tester (and very pregnant) wife, Betsy, didn’t actually say this was the best pasta sauce I’ve ever made, but she gave me that look… if you’ve ever fed a pregnant momma, you know that look.

Mushroom Ragu with Rigatoni

Homemade mushroom ragu tossed with rigatoni. One of the best vegetarian pasta sauces I’ve had. From The Kitchn Cookbook.
3.63 from 16 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 Servings



  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms opt.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 3-4 shallots chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms sliced
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic mashed with a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • 16 ounces Rigatoni pasta cooked


  • If you’re using dried mushrooms, add them to 1 cup of boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain mushrooms and chop them. Reserve liquid for later.
  • In a heavy sauce pan or pot, add olive oil over medium heat. Then add onions, shallots, and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic paste (mashed with a pinch of salt) and rehydrated dried shrooms (if you’re using them), fresh chopped mushrooms, and thyme. Cover pot and cook for another 3-5 minutes, shaking pot occasionally.
  • Uncover pot and continue to cook over medium-high heat until mushrooms have lost their liquid and all the liquid is evaporated from the pan, another five minutes maybe.
  • When mushrooms start to brown slightly, push them all to the sides of the pan and add tomato paste to center. Mash it into the pan and let it caramelize for a minute.
  • Add wine to the pot and stir to remove any stuck bits. Once wine is mostly evaporated, add 1/2 cup of mushroom stock (if possible) or water.
  • Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, adding stock in small batches, until the sauce is smooth and mushrooms are soft. Add Parmesan cheese at the end along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Toss cooked rigatoni pasta in with sauce and serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.



Serving: 1bowlCalories: 681kcalCarbohydrates: 106gProtein: 25gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 933mgPotassium: 1216mgFiber: 8gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 556IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 214mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Mushroom Ragu, mushroom recipes, Vegetarian Pasta

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Mushroom Ragu: Shrooms and Onions

This ragu doesn’t actually have that many ingredients. It’s got a lot of flavor from simple basics. The original recipe in the book starts off with dried mushrooms. If you reconstitute some dried porcini mushrooms, you can use them (and more importantly the liquid) in the sauce. I neglected to get dried mushrooms at the store so I just left that out. Sauce was still great!

One thing you don’t want to skimp on though is the onions and shallots. Go heavy on them.

Mushroom ragu
Various onion situations.

I used two kinds of mushrooms: cremini and shiitake. Both have their own flavor profiles and they work well together. I used more cremini than shiitake, but the recipe calls for just mushrooms so you can use anything really.

Mushroom ragu - so many mushrooms
A forest of ‘shrooms.

See that little bowl of paste? That’s garlic paste. It’s a few cloves of garlic mashed together with salt. It’s a great way to add garlic flavor to the sauce.

Mushroom ragu - garlic paste
Garlic paste. Yes.

Cooking the Mushroom Ragu

You need a big saucepan to really make this happen. You could also use a pot or a dutch oven though.

Start by adding the oil over medium heat and all the onions and shallots. Once those soften, add all the mushrooms and the garlic paste. Cover these and let the mushrooms cook down for about five minutes.

Cook Mushroom ragu
Cook it down.

Then uncover the pan and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates, probably another 5-7 minutes.

Then move all the ‘shrooms to the outside and add the tomato paste to the center. Let that caramelize a bit and then add the wine. This will hiss and sizzle and you can use all that liquid to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.

Mushroom ragu
Action shot.

If you happen to have used dried mushrooms, add them back in and also add 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid. If not though, no worries. Just start adding the stock to the pan in small batches (1/4 cup maybe) and stir it slowly until the sauce is a rich, thick sauce.

It’ll take at least 20 minutes to simmer the sauce down with the stock until it gets to this point. Now the sauce is done!

Mushroom ragu smells good
Lawdy this smells good.

At the end, add the Parmesan cheese and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Then add the cooked pasta straight to the pan!

At this point if the sauce is too tight, add a little extra stock or water to loosen it up.

Mushroom ragu.
All together now.

Serve this all up immediately with other Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


Slow simmered homemade mushroom ragu. The perfect Fall vegetarian main dish. This version is from the new The Kitchn Cookbook via Macheesmo.

In short, make this. It’s a fantastic pasta dish.

Let’s talk cookbook!

The Giveaway

This was a very different cookbook than I was expecting. For some reason I thought it was going to be a compilation of the favorite recipes from the website, which would’ve been just fine given the shear number of recipes on that site.

But, the book turned out to be more of a all-encompassing philosophical look at the kitchen… or, your kitchen. The recipes are part of this philosophy, but just a part. I would guess they are about half of the book and don’t even start until page 129. A lot of the book focuses instead on how to be successful in the kitchen.

It has thorough sections on equipment, techniques, planning, storage, and just general kitchen care. The book doesn’t present a single recipe until it makes sure you have the right tools. Very smart indeed!

Even after the recipes, you’ll find tips on entertaining and gathering with others.

While this is a great cookbook for anybody, I think it would be particularly good for someone just learning how to cook or someone who is starting a cooking lifestyle. It’s a fantastic starter book that’s very thorough.

Oh… and the recipes? Well, they all look great and if even half of them turn out as good as this mushroom ragu, then you’ll be in good shape.

66 Responses to “Savory Mushroom Ragu” Leave a comment

  1. Oh that looks delicious! I’m on a huge mushroom kick now that it’s getting colder outside.

  2. Love mushrooms, recipe sounds awesome. And this book would really be a good gift for a bride!!

  3. This recipe looks delicious!! I love mushrooms and use them in alot of my recipes instead of meat.

  4. This recipe looks delicious. Plus it’s nice to have a meatless option that is still filling!

  5. This looks amazing! I’ve been reading The Kitchn for ages, and seeing this recipe has made me even more excited the new cookbook.

  6. What a great idea for a cookbook! I want to get into cooking more (beyond the bowls of cereal I often have for dinner :) – this cookbook seems like the perfect match!

  7. This looks so yummy. And that cookbook would look great in my kitchen. Like most of my cookbooks it would be dog-eared and have signs of use on the pages in no time. Not that I like to dirty up a book. But you KNOW it is a great cookbook when you see stains, and notes added in. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  8. Just can’t say enough good things about mushrooms. Your Thai is definitely going to make it to my table.

  9. Looks great–I’ve loved the site for a while, but the book looks interesting and a bit different.

  10. I’m a frequent visitor of The Kitchn and their cookbook looks like the perfect addition to my budding cookbook library!

  11. I’ve been looking for new pasta sauce recipes, and you can bet I’ll be trying this one. It looks fantastic.

  12. This dish looks so tasty! I really enjoy mushrooms. My husband is just learning to like them. He does like pasta, though. The cookbook looks awesome.

  13. I love the variety of mushrooms and the different tastes – thanks for sharing and for the chance to win

  14. I LOVE mushrooms! And love recipes that include wine, so I can drink while I cook. Thanks for a great looking recipe!

  15. Great idea for vegetarian son when he visits. Like the idea of lots of mushrooms for a “meaty” flavor, as I struggle to think of interesting vegetarian dishes. Also appreciate the garlic/salt tip.

  16. I’ve been following the Kitchn blog for a little while now and I always enjoy their tips and make-ahead dinner articles. This book looks like a winner. Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. I love mushrooms, but hubby hates them! I’ll be making this the next time he goes out of town :)

  18. My boyfriend HATES mushrooms so I made this for a girls’ night and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you!

  19. OMG! I found this on Pinterest recently, and made it with plain old baby bella mushrooms to serve as a side dish. It was amazing! I got rave reviews. The depth of flavor is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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