Bacon / Cheese / Comfort Food / Entrees / Guilty Pleasures / Italian Food / Pasta / Sunday Dinners / Winter Recipes

Cook: Bucatini with Mushroom Ragu

Sometimes, vegetables should taste like vegetables.  Actually, most of the time vegetables should taste like vegetables.  But sometimes, just sometimes, they should taste like meat.  This is one of those times.

I found this recipe in an issue of Cook’s Illustrated forever ago and have almost made it countless times.  The most previous time I almost made it was when I decided to make mushroom risotto instead, because I have a problem.  Speaking of, it’s about time for some risotto.  Stay tuned.

When I finally made this recipe, I mentally kicked myself for waiting this long.  It is delightful.  It is hearty.  It is warming and delicious and makes my heart smile.  This mushroom ragu changed my world when it comes to thinking about a rich hearty ragu sauce.  The mushrooms transform into this meaty, rich sauce that is mind blowing.  For real.

This pasta was every bit as hearty and rich as a meaty ragu, but without the three hour block it takes to cook. It was fast, easy, and delicious.  I loved the earthy mushrooms and the rosemary, and the added cream made it silky and wonderful.  Mushroom ragu wins.

Here’s the recipe!

Bucatini with Mushroom Ragu (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)


  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1 inch pieces*
  • 2 large portobella mushrooms, stems and gills removed, caps cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pint button mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Bucatini or other long pasta
  • Grated Parmesan for serving
*Omit the pancetta and change the chicken stock to vegetable stock to make this vegetarian.  I mean the pancetta will be missed, but I bet it would still be pretty good!
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and add pasta.  Cook according to package instructions, to al dente.  Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Add mushrooms to skillet along with tomato paste, garlic, and rosemary.  Cook for about 5 minutes until mushrooms have softened and tomato paste starts to brown.
  3. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes.  Add cream and stir to combine, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. When sauce is finished, add it to pasta and toss well, for about a minute, to combine so that all the pasta is coated in the sauce.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of chopped fresh rosemary.

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