Portobello Paradiso

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This is a robust sauce I created as a veggie Sloppy Joe. It later became used as a staple for mushroom lovers who could enjoy this as a meatless bolognese sauce. It’s full in flavor and has an addictive deep rustic color that satisfies the vegetarian or carnivore who loves a big sauce with their favorite pasta. This sauce also makes a wonderful lasagna filling. Combine peppers and onions in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till they are finely minced but not watery. Place them in a bowl.

Put the portobello and button (or crimini) mushrooms in the food processor (no need to wash the bowl) and pulse till they are coarsely chopped. They should resemble chunky, irregular, coarsely ground meal when they are ready. Set them aside in separate bowl.

Put 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a heated sauté skillet. When the oil is smoking, put the minced peppers and onions into the pan and sauté them cautiously, so as not to burn them, until they are evenly golden.

Add the minced garlic. Continue sautéing on medium/low until the garlic is softened and golden. Drizzle in a bit more olive oil as you go if needed to keep the mixture coated.

Add the ground mushrooms and allow to cook over a medium flame to draw out their liquid. It should have a meatlike consistency. Add salt, pepper, crushed red chiles, oregano, and thyme. Stir. If it starts to stick, use the remainder of the olive oil to keep it moist.

Raise the heat and add 1 cup of white wine. The mixture should be juicy. Slowly reduce until all of the wine is absorbed but the mixture is still slightly moist.

Add marinara and enjoy watching the transition of the ragu take place. As you continue simmering, it should be fairly hearty in thickness as well as robust in color.

Lower heat to allow the sauce to simmer slowly. Add the water and parsley. Simmer gently approximately 1½ hours on very low heat until flavor is concentrated and your palate goes WOW! Just before serving, check the seasonings for correct salt and desired spiciness.