Mushroom Sugo (Sauce in Italian)
The rich flavor of mixed wild mushrooms and a red wine tomato sauce pairs wonderfully with a round Cabernet Sauvignon.
• 1 pound wild mushrooms or mix of cultivated mushrooms, finely chopped
• 2 cups diced yellow onion
• 1 1⁄2 cups diced carrots
• 1 cup diced celery
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
• 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3⁄4 cup tomato paste
• 3 cups red wine
• 3 quarts vegetable stock
1. Heat a large sauté pan or brazier over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a saucepot. Add 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil and the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 8-10 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Heat the same pan once again and add the other 1⁄4 cup olive oil along with the onions, carrots and celery. Sauté over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables begin to caramelize. (Avoid stirring too often during this process or the vegetables will steam instead of roasting in the pan, and you’ll not get the caramelization necessary.)
3. Add the garlic, stir through, and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook the tomato paste along with the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and develop a crust. At this point, the bottom of the pan should be dark brown with crusty bits from caramelized vegetables and tomato paste.
4. Add the mushrooms to the pan, stir through, then add the red wine. Turn the heat up to high and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the wine is reduced by two thirds. Using a 4-ounce ladle, add about two ladlefuls of vegetable stock to the pan.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the vegetable stock is absorbed into the sauce. Continue to add ladlefuls of stock into the sauce, allowing the stock to reduce with each addition. (This is very similar to the process of cooking risotto.) Once all the stock has been used, adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper.