Mushroom Chard Ragout with Pasta

Mushroom Chard Ragout on Brown Rice Pasta

Mushroom Chard Ragout on Brown Rice Pasta

Serves 4

Rich, earthy mushrooms pair well with subtle, sweet Swiss chard for this satisfying, chunky ragout.  Serve over whole wheat pappardelle, brown rice lasagna noodles, or roasted potatoes.  Just eat it before everyone else finds out how good it is.

3 ounces portabello mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 bunch Rainbow Chard (or Swiss), stems separated from the leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water at least 10 minutes

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 pound whole grain pasta (like whole wheat or brown rice)

Salt and black pepper

Chives, for garnish

To make Mushroom Chard ragout:  Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt.  Let the mushrooms turn golden brown on one side before stirring, about 5 minutes.  Stir and let the other side golden, another 3 minutes or so.  If the mushrooms start to burn, turn your heat down and add a couple tablespoons of water.

Deep, golden mushrooms

Deep, golden mushrooms

Add the onion, carrot, and chard stems, and saute until they start to brown, about 5 more minutes.   Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.  Cook just until the paste darkens a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar.  Use your spoon to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the rehydrated porcini mushrooms, their soaking liquid, the garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture has thickened and the dried mushrooms are tender, at least 10 minutes but up to 30 minutes.  Add the chard leaves during the last few minutes of cooking, just to wilt.  Keep warm while you cook the pasta.

To cook pasta:  Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  Salt the water and place the pasta in the water, and cook until ALMOST al dente (“with a bite”), just shy of done.  Immediately remove the pasta from the water and mix directly into the ragout.  Ladle in about ½ – 1 cup of the pasta water, to make a sauce with the mushroom ragout.

Serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh chives.