This is a classic, rich, deep, hearty dish that packs a punch of umami. While you can use chicken or porcini mushroom stock, I highly recommend the latter for a more intense mushroom flavor (plus, you curry favor with your vegetarian guests). Serve this mushroom ragu over creamy polenta or your favorite pasta shape—I recommend pappardelle—and enjoy!
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt, and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add a little more olive oil and/or butter. Add the mushrooms (in two batches), season with salt and pepper, and saute until golden browned. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the second batch of mushrooms, adding more olive oil and/or butter as needed.
- Add the reserved shallot and mushrooms to the skillet. Add the herbs and garlic. Add the tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Add the sherry (or Madeira) and deglaze the pan, scraping any bits that stick to the bottom. Cook a minute or two until the sherry is reduced.
- Sprinkle in the flour and add the stock, along with the rehydrated mushrooms if using. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring from time to time, until the sauce is thick and reduced, about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve over polenta or pasta, such as pappardelle.