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Spicy Roasted Mushroom Tomato-Meat Sauce

I am finally back in business with recipe posting! After cooking, styling, and photographing 30 paleo recipes over the past week, my heart was craving carbs and what better way to answer that call with a beautiful plate of pasta and a flavorful roasted mushroom tomato-meat sauce? Roasted mushrooms add a delicate meatiness to this sauce that is equal parts earthy, spicy, and acidic. This spicy roasted mushroom tomato-meat sauce will be your new favorite weeknight pasta recipe.

I recommend using a tubular pasta for this recipe as the tomato-meat sauce is very thick and really settles into the tubes perfectly. I used calamarata but ziti, rigatoni, or penne would be perfect too.


Serves: 6

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 1 hour (30 minutes inactive)


16 ounces short tubular pasta (such as calamarata, rigatoni, or ziti)

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms

1 yellow onion

6 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1-2 red Fresno chili peppers (more or less depending on your spice preference)

3/4 pound lean ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

Onion and garlic powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 28-ounce can of tomato purée

1 14.5-ounce can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes

1 cup reserved pasta cooking water

Fresh grated cheese such as pecorino Romana, optional, for serving


Prepare and Roast the Vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wipe the mushrooms clean and trim off any woody parts of the baby bella stems (don’t remove the entire stem, just cut off any gross parts of the stem). Remove and discard the stems of the shiitake mushrooms, leaving the caps whole. Peel the onion and cut in half. Trim the chili peppers and remove the seeds if desired. Leave the peppers whole. Peel the garlic. Toss the vegetables on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the peppers have begun to blister and the vegetables are turning dark brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

Start the Sauce: While the mushrooms are roasting, prepare the sauce. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium high. Add the ground pork and beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, for 15 minutes or until well-browned all over. Season with salt, pepper, and a few shakes of onion and garlic powder (to taste). Carefully drain off any excess fat and return the pot to medium high heat. Once the meat has begun to turn dark brown and crisp up in some places, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the paste has begun to deepen in color. Add 1/4 cup water (or red wine or chicken stock) and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the puréed and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Taste and season with salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder, or a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes taste too acidic.

Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.

Finish the Sauce: Stir the finely chopped roasted vegetables into the sauce along with the pasta cooking water. Toss the sauce with the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to coat the pasta. Turn off the heat. (Note: Only toss the pasta you intend to eat with the sauce if you plan on storing the remaining in the fridge for leftovers to avoid the pasta becoming mushy.)

To Serve: Divide the pasta between bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

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