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Pinot & Portabello Ragout

with garlic and basil

A typical ragout contains seared meat that has been deglazed with wine or stock. This vegetarian option combines meaty baby bella mushrooms deglazed with pinot noir...its peppery, berry flavors permeate the mushrooms, and is heaven. The sauce is hearty, but not heavy, full of flavor, including nice doses of oregano and crushed garlic. The basil adds a subtle spicy nuance. I recently served this over Japanese brown rice noodles, which everyone loved.

Experiment with the vegetables or meat, herbs, and accompaniments for this simple, delectable, versatile dish. Leave me comments on how you made this recipe yours!

Prep Time: 30 minutes Servings: 6


*NOTE: Using clarified butter produces a slightly more fragrant dish, however olive oil works well too. I've explained more about this in my butter series, so if you'd like an easy to follow recipe and video about clarifying butter, click here.

2 tablespoons olive oil or clarified butter*

2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped

6-8 cloves of garlic, raw, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups pinot noir wine

1 16 ounce box baby bella mushrooms, quickly cleaned and rinsed with water, lightly dried (allowing a bit of moisture to remain on the caps is actually desired for this recipe) - we are using caps only

2 teaspoons white (granulated) sugar

1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, juice included

2-4 large sprigs of oregano, herb stripped from stems and roughly chopped

a dozen or so traditional or purple basil leaves, loosely torn

1 teaspoon white pepper - one of my everyday go to ingredients, get some!

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper (more if you prefer)

In a large heavy bottomed pan, or dutch oven, over medium low heat add the clarified butter. Let it melt. Put in the onions, sautéing to cook the onions down a few minutes, and when they are close to being translucent, add the crushed garlic, salt and olive oil into the pan. Stir well. Make sure you watch the heat, ensuring pan doesn't get hot enough to begin burning the garlic. Usually this is a sauté that lasts for less than a minute.

Right away, add the mushrooms to the pan, give them only one stir, then immediately add in the red wine, expect some sizzling and steam, stir well, ensuring you scrape the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan.

Raise the heat a bit and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. As the liquid evaporates, the sauce will thicken just a bit, which is desired.

Add the sugar and the entire can of tomatoes. Before you add them, you can break the tomatoes, but I prefer to stir them in and let them do their thing with the heat, breaking them up with my spoon as I go. Add in the oregano, black and white pepper. Allow to simmer on medium heat 20 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the basil, then remove to cool a bit before serving. Serve over grains, pastas, or as is....options are all about your taste!

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