L’Artusi’s Famous Mushroom Ragu With Fresh Garganelli

October 26, 2018

Author Notes: I first discovered this mushroom ragu on a date night with my boyfriend at L’Artusi in New York City’s West Village. It was love at first bite. Fresh garganelli pasta gets wrapped in a silky, luxurious sauce of almost-pureed mushrooms, cream, tomato paste, a dry white cooking wine, and chili flakes. It’s meaty and hearty, yet filling enough to make you ignore every other dish on the table—and maybe even your date. And it’s 100% vegetarian.

After chatting with L’Artusi’s executive chef, Joe Vigorito, I also learned that it’s astonishingly easy to make at home. But because it’s so simple, he explained, “you’ve got to get everything right.” A few tips, straight from chef Vigorito: Continually stir the tomato paste so that it doesn’t burn; don’t rinse the mushrooms in water, just clean them with a paper towel; and don’t fret about the wine, any super-dry variety will work just fine. On top of that, if making fresh garganelli doesn’t fit into your time frame, a dried penne or orecchiette would also work well.
Erin Alexander

Food52 Review: Featured in: The Dreamy Mushroom Ragu I Love More Than My Boyfriend...Almost.The Editors

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 1 hrs


For the garganelli:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour

For the mushroom ragu:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 dash salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes, plus 1 pinch, divided
  • 1 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • Shaved ricotta salata, for serving
In This Recipe


For the garganelli:

  1. Place flour, eggs, and extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor. Process until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove dough. Divide into 4 pieces. Dust each piece with flour. Roll through pasta machine at the thickest setting. Repeat this process gradually decreasing the number setting. Stop when the dough has finished the second to last setting.
  3. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch squares. Roll each square diagonally over a dowel, chopstick, or finger. Press to seal at the end of the square. Lay out on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or wax paper dusted with semolina flour. Continue until all the pasta has been formed into little "quills.”
  4. Set aside pasta in a fridge, or freeze if being cooked on another day.

For the mushroom ragu:

  1. In a food processor, chop a few mushrooms at a time until they are all finely chopped (almost pureed; they will look like mush). Periodically scrape down the sides of the food processor.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and season generously with salt. Once onions are soft and slightly caramelized, add tomato paste and pinch red chili flakes. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The paste should caramelize slightly but not burn.
  3. Add chopped mushrooms. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This will look like a wet mess at first. Over time, the liquid will cook off, and the mushrooms will take on a dark, caramelized color.)
  4. Add wine to deglaze. Scrape bottom of pot to remove any stuck-on mushroom bits. Stir constantly and cook until mixture is dry and wine has completely evaporated.
  5. Add heavy cream. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. The water should taste like the sea. If using fresh garganelli, cook in the boiling salted water for 3 to 5 min. If using dried pasta, cook according to the package instructions.
  7. While the pastas cooks, keep the ragu over low heat. When al dente, remove the pasta and add it to the sauce.
  8. Add pinch red chili flakes, butter, and the Parmesan. Stir to combine. Add 1⁄4 cup pasta water to help emulsify sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  9. Serve in warm bowls; sprinkle shaved ricotta salata on top.

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Reviews (11) Questions (1)

11 Reviews

daisybrain November 8, 2018
I am so totally making this. Any thoughts on adding a package of dried porcinis and using the liquid along with the deglazing wine. I'm gonna do it.
Emma L. November 8, 2018
Personally, I don't think dried mushrooms are necessary here. Since they're an expensive ingredient, I try to save them for when I'll really appreciate their flavor. And the sauce is already super rich and mushroomy :)
Betsy November 1, 2018
Do you add the mushroom stock in place of the pasta water or as well as?
Fatemah R. October 28, 2018
Sounds really good. The recipe talks about putting the chopped mushrooms in but when do the quartered mushrooms go in?
Stephen L. October 28, 2018
jcasare November 15, 2018
hy in the world would I bother quartering mushrooms before putting them in a blender?
pnd1974 October 26, 2018
Hello,<br />if dry pasta is substituted, how much should I use?<br />Thank you
Author Comment
Erin A. October 26, 2018
I haven't tried it with dried pasta yet, but a standard 1 pound box should do the trick! If you think that's not enough, you could start by making 1 1/2 pounds pasta, then incorporate the pasta into the sauce bit by bit until you get the pasta-sauce ratio you like. You can save the clean, leftover cooked pasta in a ziploc bag for another day.
Emma L. November 4, 2018
Hi! Made a batch of the sauce last night and used about 1/3 for 1/2 pound of pasta; froze the rest in two portions for future pasta nights!
Emma L. November 4, 2018
(Oops, if unclear: 1/2 pound of dried pasta. I used penne.)
Emma L. October 26, 2018
Soooooo good!!!