Slow-Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

Slow-Cooker Mushroom Bolognese

BrianCamfam Cookery
For a vegetarian take on classic Bolognese with long-cooked flavor, we turned to mushrooms, deciding on cremini for their firm texture and porcini for savory flavor. To keep things simple, we used the food processor to chop the cremini and the vegetables. Since mushrooms take on more flavor when browned, and because there is no opportunity for evaporation in a slow cooker, we sautéed them and the other vegetables in a skillet to drive off excess moisture and build flavor. We first tried tomato puree as the tomato base for our sauce, but we found it was a little too thick; the mushrooms required more liquid in which to cook. We discovered that processing whole peeled tomatoes gave us the extra liquid we needed while keeping the fresh tomato flavor. Finishing this hearty sauce with a little heavy cream helped smooth out any sharpness and gave it a nice creaminess, and parsley and lemon juice brightened it up
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  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms trimmed and quartered
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms rinsed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • chopped fresh parsley


  • 1. Working in batches, pulse cremini mushrooms in food processor until pieces are no larger than ½ inch, 5 to 7 pulses; transfer to large bowl. Pulse onion and carrot in now-empty processor until finely chopped, 5 to 7 pulses; transfer to bowl with mushrooms. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in again-empty processor until almost smooth, 6 to 8 pulses; set aside in separate bowl.
  • Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add processed vegetables and porcini mushrooms, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until vegetables are dry and browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
  • Stir tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, ½ teaspoon pepper, and bay leaf into slow cooker. Cover and cook until sauce is deeply flavored, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  • Discard bay leaf. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons parsley for every 3 cups sauce.

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