Consider this mushroom recipe a project for a weekend or a lazy afternoon. It involves a fair amount of precise, repetitive chopping. You can chop the mushrooms in a food processor but do so in small batches and keep the chop a little rough. If you pulse them for too long, they will turn to paste. The goal is to chop the mushrooms to a texture that resembles ground meat. It shouldn’t be minced, but should instead end up as smallish but irregular pieces. The result of all that chopping and the slow cooking is a delicious, deeply umami, Bolognese-style ragu. I like a combination of mushrooms in the ragu, for variety. I usually use maitake, shiitake, and oyster, to equal 2 pounds (910 g), but I’ve also made it with 2 pounds cremini mushrooms and it’s perfectly delicious. Use whatever you prefer or can easily find, in whatever combination you like. The ragu tastes even better the second day. I suggest serving it over polenta or pasta, topped with finely grated pecorino or parmesan.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
- In a Dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil over low heat. When the butter has melted, make the soffritto (the vegetable base): add the celery, carrots, onion, leek, garlic, salt, and pepper and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent but not browned, about 15 minutes (everything should be soft and mushy).
- Add the colatura and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil, stirring until incorporated. Add the chopped fresh mushrooms and mushroom powder and cook to allow the mushrooms to release moisture, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and broth and cook until the sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, cream, milk, oregano, nutritional yeast, and chile. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the ragu has reduced and deepened in color, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.
- Add salt to taste. If making ahead, let cool completely before transferring to glass jars or other storage containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.