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. This sauce has a rich and hearty flavor; it’s meaty but no meat. It seemed the right thing to share with you now, my mushroom herb pasta sauce.
Mushroom Herb Pasta Sauce
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, mushroom herb marinara which uses a lot of fresh parsley for an earthy garden flavor.
Parsley is often relegated to the role of supporting actor as simple garnish. In this recipe, parsley plays a 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 flat leaf (Italian) parsley, discarding the stems. Wash parsley leaves in cool water and dry on layers of paper towels, kitchen towels or in a salad spinner.
To chop the parsley leaves fine, you can use a food processor 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.
Mushroom Herb Pasta Sauce
- Food processor (to prep faster)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped parsley leaves about 2 large, full bunches
- 1/2 onion chopped fine
- 3 celery ribs chopped fine
- 2-3 garlic cloves chopped fine
- 8 ounces white mushrooms cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 28 ounce canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 ounce canned tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt kosher or sea
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or water
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, 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