I had a craving for spaghetti but was not in the mood to be weighed down by beef. I was also on a mission to make a dish with mushrooms that my husband would love. The key to this sauce is allowing it to stew (the longer the better) and the addition of ground cinnamon and ground cloves. Ahhh culinary success. Husband-approved.
Makes 4-6 servings
- Linguine pasta, 1 box cooked
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Garlic, 4 cloves, minced (I love garlic…feel free to use less!)
- Red onion, 1 medium, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 large carrots, grated (I chopped mine then threw them in the food processor)
- 2 Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
- 6 Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped and divided in half
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese
- Add oil to a large saucepan over Medium-Low heat. Add garlic, onions, bell pepper, and a pinch of salt (to draw out the moisture). Stir occasionally and cook until onions are translucent. Add carrots and mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and half the basil. Add salt (I added a couple pinches), pepper, spices and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
- Using a potato masher or the back of a ladle (though I find the potato masher to be less messy for this), smash tomatoes throughout mixture. If mixture looks too dry (i.e., sticking to the bottom of the pan), add 1/2 cup to 1 cup water. Add bay leaf. Cover and let simmer for (at least) another 15 minutes. The longer you can let the sauce stew, the better. This allows the flavors to develop and creates a more complex, tasty sauce. I let mine stew for about 45 minutes.
- When ready to serve, discard bay leaf. Add mozzarella cheese and remainder of basil. Stir well and toss pasta in sauce. Serve with additional shredded mozzarella cheese and a glass of red wine (not necessary but highly recommended).