Almost Meaty Mushroom Sauce

Some people have exciting lives–they go out, they read a book, they spend time with a significant other. Me? Well, Tuesday night found me alone in the kitchen with a giant vat of mushroom sauce. I suppose a Friday night pasta sauce date would have been a teeny bit more absurd, but as I was stirring and tasting and adding a bit more salt every thirty minutes or so, I realized how ridiculous I must look to any outsider. There’s only one of me and I’d filled my 8 quart pot to the gills with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, wine, and coffee.

Coffee, you ask? I wish I could tell you a bit more about the science behind it, but the coffee does add a nice mellow bitter taste to the sauce. It actually counteracts some of the acid in the tomatoes and wine. The other ingredients are fairly standard. The main component, of course, is love. And time. Lots of time. Be sure to set aside at least four hours to simmer this baby down to deliciousness–and then be prepared to bag or quart jar it for the freezer. I ended up with seven quarts of sauce, which, well, is more than enough for my single self for quite some time. But gosh darn is it delicious.

Almost Meaty Mushroom Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium-large onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
3 28 oz can diced tomatoes
24 oz tomato sauce
18 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 c red wine
1/3 c brewed coffee
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp salt + more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly grated pepper + more to taste
24 oz mixed mushrooms, chopped (I used 8 oz white button, 16 oz portobello)

In a large (and I mean large) pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, brewed coffee, and herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Add the chopped mushrooms.

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours, until the sauce cooks down to a desired thickness. Let cool, then store in jars or freezer grade plastic bags in the freezer.

Makes 6-7 quarts.

16 Responses to “Almost Meaty Mushroom Sauce”
  1. taleoftwovegans says:

    Honestly this makes me feel better about myself. Reading other blogs often makes me feel like a complete grandma. No weekday evening meetups with friends, weekend adventures to a fantastic town, beach, cottage, or midday jaunt to a restaurant for me. Besides, when the heck do they have the time for all that!? I can hardly find enough time to do my job and schoolwork and some (er, more like a healthy amount) of blogreading in the evenings.
    Whew, anyways sorry for the novel. But now you know, there are other hermits out there! ;) And that sauce sounds yummy! Mushrooms don’t normally find their way into my tomato sauce, but I might have to give them a go.

  2. Vic says:

    Wow! That is super red! Honestly, I would rather spend my time at home cooking then out and about!

  3. Becky says:

    It sounds great! I actually love evenings where I can spend a few hours in the kitchen. Even sometimes Friday evenings!

  4. amandatrombley says:

    I never would have thought to put coffee in a red sauce..want to try this! I’m with you too with the staying home thing. I really enjoy it. Other than my cooking, my life is super boring and I actually like it that way ;)

  5. a-k says:

    Usually I like staying home best :) Even though I do love my friends and the outside world, cooking or watching movies with or without my ladyfriend is the most wonderful thing for me! This sauce sounds terrific and once tomatoes are back in season I really need to try my hand at a big ol’ pot of sauce.

  6. fortheloveofguava says:

    Mm… haha… I often cook for armies I know not of as well… :)

    YUM! I should do this now while it’s cold for spring/summer pasta!

  7. fortheloveofguava says:

    P.S. My secret ingredient is always cumin… I’ll have to try the coffee!! Always some of that around my place :)

  8. Renae says:

    I’m intrigued by the coffee idea; a little less so by those pesky mushrooms. But sitting around the house with a big batch of red sauce brewing for hours sounds like the good life to me.

  9. BitterSweet says:

    Hey, sounds like my idea of a good time! Especially if you have some company to help pass those 2 – 3 hours, that’s not bad at all. ;)

    I’ve never seen a tomato sauce with coffee in it before, but I’m itching to try it now… Sounds great!

  10. What a gorgeous red color! Coffee? Interesting indeed! We had some pasta for dinner today and the (store bought) sauce was so tangy it was almost inedible. I’ll keep in mind your coffee trick! :-)

  11. jessy says:

    that’s my favorite kinda evening – one spent at home cooking up some awesomeness. yay! i’ve seen coffee used in baked yummies before, but i never thought to use it in a sauce. this sounds fantastical, Jes – and that’s one sexy looking sauce! mmmmmmmm! i saw your comment on the teff flour and richmond visiting possibly next weekend. i couldn’t believe it – i have an appointment with theron @ 11 next saturday! maybe i’ll see you there. :) i ended up going to ETs (ellwood thompsons) today for some produce and totally forgot to check on the teff flour, but i may stop by later this week and i’ll keep you posted. i ordered mine online on amazon last year – it did cost a pretty penny though. **sigh** but you better believe the injera i made with it was most excellent!

    happy friday, Jes – and have a rock’n weekend!

  12. mihl says:

    How can reading a book be more exiting than cooking? Besides, I can do both, especially while making this sauce :) It sounds like a total flavour explosion.

  13. JennShaggy says:

    Wow. I was going to reply with something sassy about being “hot and spicy”, then I saw the picture of your sauce and it stalled me. Hot damn that looks delicious.

    Keep at it with the “cheese”-making. It takes a lot of trial and error, but you eventually get a feel for it.

  14. Barbara says:

    It’s nice to have company while cooking in the kitchen, but a “kitchen cat” will always do it for me.
    I have never tried coffee in tomato sauce, but am now so intrigued by it. Your sauce looks delicious, Jes.

  15. Diann says:

    I love mushrooms so much and I hope I can make this recipe soon!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Im making this tonight!!! I am so excited. I just came across your blog, its fabulous!

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