There’s an on-going and never-ending debate when it comes to covering your pasta – sauce vs. gravy. Depending on where your from and what you were taught, your own perspective may lean towards one side or the other. Personally, I call it sauce, gravy is for Thanksgiving, and truth be told, in my house, we mostly refer to it as ‘sugo’ (Italian for sauce or juice) or ‘sarsa’ (Italish) or ‘suco’ (dialect). No matter how you say it, pasta is naked without it, and from the very basic to the insanely complex, the options are plentiful and the possibilities are infinite.
I have my standard set of sauce recipes, including a traditional tomato sauce, but once in a while, when the mood strikes me, I find myself on an ingredient scavenger hunt in the kitchen – ruled by my senses, my palate, and my cravings. Today was one of those days…It’s essentially a vegetable ragu, hearty and clingly – perfect for cavatelli or gnocchi.
Ragu di Funghi Carote e Cipolle
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced baby portabella mushroom
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 28 oz. can diced stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
In a medium saucepot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions for a few minutes. Add the butter and continue cooking. Once the garlic and onions are tender, but not browned, add the mushrooms, carrots, parsley, and the sherry. Cook over medium for about five minutes before adding the tomatoes, then the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to low and simmer for about 45 minutes until thickened. Serve over your favorite pasta or spoon onto toasted slices of fresh Italian bread. Buon Apetito!