Calamarata Pasta with Wine-Braised Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Calamarata Pasta with Wine-Braised Mushroom Tomato Sauce

If you can't find calamarata pasta, you can substitute with any tube pasta such as rigatoni, paccheri, or ziti.

GRADE

Serves: 4

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

16 ounces calamarata (or another tube-shaped pasta substitute)

1 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

10 ounces fresh mushrooms

Crushed red pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine

1 pound fresh tomatoes (or a 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes)

1 teaspoon sugar

3 ounces mixed pitted olives

1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water

1 bunch basil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup cream

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Extra virgin olive oil for serving

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Mince the onion and garlic. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Pick the basil leaves from the stems. Cut the olives in half.

Prepare the Mushrooms: Heat a slick of olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until well browned, adjusting the heat and adding more oil as necessary to keep the mushrooms from burning.  During the last minute, turn the heat to medium high to get the edges of the mushrooms dark brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the wine and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 more minutes over low heat or until the wine has mostly reduced, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat another slick of oil over medium high and add the tomatoes. Cook until the skin is blistered and charred, about 4-5 minutes per side (alternatively, cook the tomatoes under your stove's broiler for 3-4 minutes). Transfer the tomatoes to a plate and carefully remove the skins. Transfer the flesh to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Note: If using crushed tomatoes, skip this step and simply add the can of tomatoes to the skillet and continue with the next step!

Add the tomato mixture back to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and sugar and a bit more crushed red pepper if desired. Stir in the mushroom mixture and halved olives and cook the sauce over low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Cook the Pasta: While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining.

Finish the Sauce: Stir the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, and heavy cream into the sauce. Add the basil leaves, tearing the large leaves in half. Cook over low for another 5-6 minutes until the basil wilts. Taste and season. Stir in the pasta and coat with the sauce. Cook an additional minute to rewarm the pasta.

To Serve: Divide the pasta between plates and serve with a crack of fresh pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired. Enjoy!

Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!