We eat a lot of pasta for dinner in my house…it’s easy to make after getting home, and it’s filling, but best of all it’s easy to make a wide variety of different recipes without a ton of work in the kitchen.  Here is a recipe for a simple dish with an big name…Fettucini with Mushroom Sugo.   I’ve posted a pork sugo recipe on the site before which you may have seen, but this one is significantly different.  As oppose to starting with a tough piece of pork shoulder, and braising for hours, I’m using some wild mushrooms and have everything cooked in about 30 minutes.  Let’s get to it.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

While maybe not a Sugo in the truest sense of the word, this fettucini pasta and mushroom recipe uses many of the same principals.  The sauce we’re making for the pasta is not a tomato sauce.  Rather it's base is beef stock, obviously fortified with the flavor and texture of the mushrooms.  You’ll want to make sure you pay attention to these few things:

  1. Use the best beef stock you can get.  It is the fundamental essence of the sauce.  If you use store bought (nothing beats homemade), and can find low sodium, I recommend using it.  Add the salt yourself as needed.
  2. Use good mushrooms, and cook them well.  The type of mushroom doesn’t matter as much as the quality.  And when you saute them, make sure to cook them long enough to remove the moisture, get nice crispy edges and concentrated flavor
  3. Reserve a bit of stock so that you can adjust the thickness of the sauce at the end…if it’s too thick, don’t be shy about adding in more.

Ingredients for Mushroom Sugo (for two)

  • 1.5 cups of chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 diced shallot
  • Teaspoon of thyme
  • Tablespoon of flour
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • Quarter cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup good quality beef stock

Making the Mushroom Sugo

  • Note the sauce takes about 20 minutes to make once you start cooking the mushrooms; so time your pasta accordingly.  Also note that it’s ok to put the sauce on low heat to hold, while the pasta finishes cooking
  • Bring a saute pan to medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the pan
  • Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat
  • Allow the mushrooms to caramelize down until the edges are golden brown; they should reduce in volume by about half
  • Add the shallot and garlic; and continue to cook until they are softened
  • Add the thyme, and the flour
  • Stir together so the flour and the oil come together to form a light roux and cook for about 2 minutes at low temperature so nothing burns
  • Add in the beef stock, and stir to combine, and bring to a boil
  • As the stock reduces it will continue to thicken; you want to reduce by 1/3 to 1/2
  • Lower the temperature to low, and add half the parmesan cheese, the butter, and stir it into the sauce
  • Taste the sauce and adjust salt/pepper if needed
  • Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the sauce, along with the parsley, and toss to coat everything
  • Serve in a warm pasta bowl with a bit more parmesan cheese and parsley as a garnish

This recipe gives you a great, rich tasting dish, in a very short time.  If you want to amp up the flavor even more you can add some additional stock to the sauce and let it reduce more…more cheese and/or herbs would also bring more punch.  Hope you enjoy it, and leave a comment to let me know how it goes.