In Search of…the Perfect Pasta Sauce No 6

Porcini Mushroom (with Tomato) Sauce

This was less of a search for the perfect pasta sauce, and more because we had an empty fridge and needed to knock up something tasty from what is commonly known as ‘store cupboard standbys’. What do you mean you don’t always have porcini mushrooms in the house? Hand in your John Lewis Store Card at once and never darken this blog again!

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes soaking
Cooking time: 50 – 60 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2


  • dried porcini mushrooms – 14g
  • onion – finely chopped – 1tbsp
  • tinned tomatoes – 200g (about half a tin)
  • butter – knob
  • olive oil – slug
  • s & p
  • pasta (such as penne) – 220g
  • grated parmesan

Start by reconstituting the mushrooms. Place them in a bowl and pour over 375 ml of barely warm water. Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Lift out the mushrooms by hand and squeeze as much of the water as you can back into the bowl. The water the mushrooms were soaked in will be rich with porcini flavour and is an important part of this recipe.

Thoroughly rinse under the tap to remove any soil or grit. Pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.

Filter the mushroom water through a sieve lined with kitchen paper and set aside.

When you are ready to make your sauce, put the chopped onion into a saucepan along with the oil and butter and place over a medium heat. Cook until the onions are a pale golden.

Add the tomatoes, porcini (roughly chopped), filtered soaking water and season with salt and pepper.

Cook uncovered at a gentle simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked pasta and thoroughly mix with the sauce.

Serve immediately with a generous grating of parmesan.

Verdict: Looks like we’ve stumbled across another excellent pasta sauce – this time stuffed full of rich woody mushroom flavours. A perfect midweek dish which can easily be made with a few ingredients knocking around the kitchen.

Drink: A bottle each of Fallwood XXX and True Tyke from a recent excursion to Haworth.

Entertainment: ‘Neds’ on DVD.

Fallwood XXX, True Tyke, Haworth, Neds

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