Pasta Bolognese is, by definition, a meaty dish—hence, the quotation marks in this recipe’s name. In this case, mushrooms (plus Worcestershire sauce) are treated to a traditional technique, for a plant-forward version of “Bolognese” with plenty of umami heft but it’s also light and bright and feels nice for spring. If you’re craving a meat-based version, try Quick Pork & Fennel Ragu.

sea salt, to taste
1 onion
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 recipe Sautéed Spring Mushrooms with Lots o’ Herbs (about 1-3/4 cups)
8 ounces pappardelle pasta (or fettucine)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine (or vermouth)
1/3 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
flat-leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. (If you have a food processor, use it to chop each vegetable separately, and simply pulse to chop the mushrooms—you don’t want them to turn into a paste.) 

When the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Drain pasta.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen any browned bits. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until wine evaporates. 

Stir in mushrooms. Stir in milk, and simmer 1-2 minutes until the milk has mostly evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add cooked pasta, tossing to coat. Let the pasta cook in the sauce 1-2 minutes, or until al dente. Serve garnished with cheese and, if desired, parsley.

Serves 4

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