Ziti alla Portabello con Pomodori

Copywrite 2001 Adeh DeSandies

1 lb ziti (or any other short, chunky pasta)
3 fresh portabello mushrooms, stems removed, chopped into 1" cubes
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped into large cubes (only use fresh tomatoes if in season. otherwise use whole, peeled canned tomatoes and crush them by hand)
1/2 can of tomato paste.
1/2 cup of red wine (dry, full bodied cabernet or merlot)
4 cloves garlic sliced thin (so that people who don't want to eat it can pick it out, if you don't care about that, then dice it)
5-6 shallots sliced (a small, sweet onion cousin. you can also use 1 white onion)
1/2 cup parmesan - reggiano, grated (use fresh and grate it yourself, its much, much better)
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
bunch fresh thyme, finely chopped
bunch fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)
salt and pepper for seasoning
extra virgin olive oil


In a large skillet, put a generous amount of olive oil and the garlic. place over medium heat. This will help infuse the oil with the flavor of garlic. When the oil is hot (you can see the oil kind of shimmering) carmelize the shallots 3-4 min.

Now add the mushrooms and turn the heat down a bit. Sprinkle a dash of salt on the mushrooms and season with pepper. Sweat the mushrooms, letting some of the liquid sweat out and reduce, 5-6 min. Now add the tomato paste, 1/2 the basil, and 1/2 the thyme, stir it around and actually cook the paste until it attains a nice rusty color, 2-3 min.

Now add the wine, it should cover the bottom of the pan to about 1/4 in. Using your spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure all the yummy flavor dissolves into the wine, this is called deglazing. Also, if you have canned tomatoes, you should add them now. Turn down the heat to a simmer and reduce the wine by 75% 5-6 min.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to the package. Be sure to stop about a minute before it says on the package because we are going to finish the pasta with the sauce.

Now the sauce should be looking quite yummy and all the flavors should be dancing together as if possessed by Shiva's dancing form! With fresh tomatoes, add those in now, and warm them up with the sauce. When the pasta is ready, again, about a minute before it says on the package, strain and add to the sauce, toss together and allow the pasta to really join in on the party.

Take off heat and toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil, cheese to taste, remaining basil, parsley, and add a little bit of thyme sprinkled over the top.

Serve immediately in a large bowl with red wine and enjoy :)

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