Sugo ai Funghi
Sugo ai Funghi is a traditional mushroom sauce originating from Liguria. The recipe begins with sautéing a medley of fresh mushrooms, such as porcini, cremini, or button mushrooms, in olive oil or butter until they release their earthy flavors. Garlic, onions, and herbs like thyme or rosemary are then added to enhance the savory profile. Sugo ai Funghi is typically simmered with a splash of white wine or broth and finished with a dash of cream or butter for a velvety texture. This versatile sauce can be paired with pasta, risotto, grilled meats, or polenta, delivering a taste of warmth and comfort in every dish.
Sauté the garlic and thyme, and when the garlic turns golden (do not let it brown) stir in the mushrooms.
Cook over high heat until they give off their moisture, then reduce the heat and simmer.
Stir in the tomato paste after about ten minutes, correct seasoning, and continue simmering until the sauce is done (the liquid will be much reduced and the mushroom bits will be very tender).
Should it dry out while simmering, sprinkle it with dry white wine or broth. This sauce is wonderful over any kind of pasta or polenta (you may want to forego grated Parmigiano here), and is also excellent as an antipasto, spread on crostini, which are thin, 1-1/2 inch diameter slices of very lightly toasted bread.
This sauce can also be made with dried porcini: steep the porcini, about a packed half cup, in boiling water for 20 minutes or until they've expanded. Drain them, reserving the liquid, and mince them. High heat will not be necessary in this case; merely simmer them with the remaining ingredients, adding the water they steeped in after filtering it, because it may contain sand.