This is an amazing tasting sauce with a rich and hearty flavor. My favorite pasta sauce. A recipe I thought I’d save for a future cookbook. But it seemed the right thing to share with you now.
I’m crazy about mushrooms. For years I have made a mushroom pasta sauce, or mushroom marinara, that uses lots of parsley and other herbs. A staple in my house for years, I used to make double batches and freeze it in jars because we ate it so much. It was always handy for a quick and satisfying dinner.
What To Do With Parsley
Cleaning out the vegetable drawer I somehow ended the week with three big bunches of parsley. Fresh, fluffy, green, organic flat-leaf parsley. It was too good to be ignored, allowed to wilt away and get tossed. How to use it? Making my favorite pasta sauce.
Always a bridesmaid but never the bride, parsley is often relegated to the role of supporting actor as simple garnish. In this recipe, parsley plays the foundational role for my mushroom and herb pasta sauce. The parsley lends fresh herbal flavor to this meatless but meaty-tasting sauce filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, onion, celery and herbs.
Prep Your Vegetables
For fast prep work, a food processor comes in handy. If you have one but don’t use it much, here is your chance to put it to use. You can also prep the vegetables by hand with a chef’s knife.
Strip leaves from two to three large bunches of parsley, discarding the stems. Wash parsley leaves in cool water and dry on layers of paper towels, kitchen towels or in a salad spinner.
Chop the parsley leaves fine. You can use a food processor, pulsing with the steel knife, or chop by hand. Next, slice the mushrooms (good old white mushrooms work fine) and chop some celery. The mushrooms I slice thin in my food processor with the slicing blade. The celery and onions I chop finely by hand.
Simmer and Enjoy
Once your prep work is done, the sauce is easy to complete by simmering the ingredients in a pot until thick and the flavors are melded together. Serve it simply over pasta noodles for an easy, healthy dinner. Use it to top stuffed pasta shells. It’s great, too, for topping crisp chicken cutlets with a side of broccolini. It’s a versatile sauce, and extra freezes well.
More helpful links:
- Great post by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes, What’s the Deal With Parsley?
- Alice Waters Lentil Salad, with parsley and shallot
- Use this sauce to top and bake stuffed shells
Mushroom and Herb Pasta Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped parsley leaves about 2 large, full bunches
- 1/2 of a small onion chopped fine
- 3 celery ribs chopped fine
- 2-3 garlic cloves chopped fine
- 8 ounces of white mushrooms 227 grams, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1-28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes 794 grams
- 1-28 ounces canned tomato puree 794 grams
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons salt kosher or sea
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper
- 1/2 cup dry red wine 120 ml, or use water
- In a large saucepan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the parsley, onion and celery. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and herbs, salt, peppers and wine. Simmer covered until all of the flavors are incorporated, about 40 – 45 minutes. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin it to your preference.
- Note – This sauce freezes well.