Friday, September 30, 2011

Chris-Anna's Show-Someone-You-Love-Them Vegetable Sugo

Think of this recipe as a killer substitute for meat bolognese, one of my husband's absolute favorite foods. Sugo is an Italian word meaning "juice" or "sauce." I love how it sounds . . . "sugo" . . . I could say it over and over.

My friend Chris-anna (who is also my business partner) perfected this recipe. The key is in the chopping of all of the ingredients. You want to finely mince everything. That and cooking the onions for a really long time. Oh, and also the reduction for hours at the end.

What you end up with is this ridiculous, rich, thick yum-of-a-sauce. Perfect for layering between slices of grilled polenta or tossing with some whole wheat rigatoni or served on top of some crusty crostini. You really cannot go wrong with this sugo.

But you've gotta have the time to make it . . .

Show-Someone-You- Love-Them Vegetable Sugo
serves 8-10
Cooking time: This dish takes hours and is great to make while you are either cooking other dishes.

Printable Recipe

4 cups onion, finely minced
1 ½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups warm water
3 cup celery stalks, finely minced
3 cup carrots, finely minced
2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, finely minced
1 bulb garlic, peeled and squeezed with garlic press or minced
2 cups Italian parsley
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
30 oz tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
2 low sodium vegetable bouillon cubes (crumbed)
pepper to taste (or not)
In a soup pot, sauté onion over medium high heat for about 15 minutes. You can dry sauté at first. The onions should have enough moisture to keep them from sticking to the post. After the first 15 minutes, turn the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. At this point you can add stock as needed to keep onion from sticking to pot. The onions will be very soft and golden brown. This step is KEY. The onions need to cook for a good, long time.
Because the onions take a long time to cook down, this is a good time to prepare the other ingredients.
Soak dried mushrooms in 4 cups warm water.

After onions have cooked down, add celery and carrots to pot and cook 10 more minutes.

Bring heat back to medium high and add the portabella mushrooms, garlic, parley, oregano, thyme and rosemary. Stir and cook about 5 minutes.
Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. (You can pour the liquid through a paper towel or coffee filter to remove any fine grit.)
Finely mince porcini mushrooms and add to pot.

Push all ingredients in the pot to the outside edge, leaving the center of the pot clear and open. Add the wine and cook wine down for about three minutes.

Next add the tomato sauce, reserved mushroom liquid, bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove cover and cook on medium until much of the liquid cooks off, leaving a rich, dark, thick sauce (about ½ hour).

Salt and pepper to taste.

This sauce is great served over baked polenta, pasta, gnocchi or ravioli.

What are you making this weekend?


Faith @ For the Health of It said...

That looks so comforting :) I'll be making seitan burgers and baked butternut squash rolls this weekend!

Annaleigh Belle said...

Mmmm, I wonder if I can do this in a slow cooker -- I'm slow cooker obsessed now that the weather is turning cooler.

Healthy Girl said...

Give it a try and let us know! We were wondering the same thing.

Virtually Vegan Mama said...

looks great Wendy!


Lori said...

mmmm- I bet the house smells wonderful while this is cooking!

Babs said...

Have you tried freezing this?

Megan in Portland said...

This looks so good! What do you think about freezing some of it? With a household of 2, 8-10 servings seems quite daunting!

I'm exciting about the recipes I picked out for the week and am planning to cook ahead/prep for this weekend:

Homestyle splitpea soup from Kathy's Happy Healthy Life blog (minus the oil, earth balance and salt - this recipe simply doesn't need them)

Spinach Koftas and Ful Medames from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Sweet Potato and Leek Caserole from the Skinny Bitch Cookbook (again minus the oil and salt)

And just maybe this amazing sounding sugo!

Chris said...

Megan, You can easily make a half recipe.....1/2 the mincing time :)

This would give you enough for a nice meal and leftovers later in the week. The flavors get better and better with chili.

babsbeau said...

OK - I just watched Forks Over Knives last night and I finally really GET IT!

Wendy - when I realized anew - that I need to plan ahead and start cooking I immediately came to your site for recipes. So glad you are here!!!

I think this weekend (which has now turned rainy here in Sonoma County) will be all about soup!

Healthy Girl said...

This recipe has all the markings of something that would freeze very well.

Jen said...

This looks great. I haven't been able to find low-sodium vegetable bouillon. What brand do you buy & where do you find it?

Jessica said...

I made vegan mushroom barley soup in the crock pot today! Woke up, it was so cold and rainy, and I had to work all day - so I put everything in at 9am, and at 5 it was done. Kept it warm and ate it for dinner with some other good stuff (although the soup was enough for me...others around the table had roasted broccoli, cornmeal crusted tofu, chicken with apricots and currants and spinach noodle kugel). I am happy to share the soup recipe - Wendy, I will send it to you and you can post if you wish.

The Healthy Librarian said...


This looks fabulous! Wherever did you find the recipe? Never heard of a sugo before.

Here's what I'm in the middle of making this weekend--to take my out-of-town kids who are about to welcome a new baby next week:

1. All-American Spicy Chili
2. Spinach & Chickpea Burgers
3. A double-batch of an amazing Veggie "Meat Loaf"
3. Spicy African Sweet Potato Peanut Stew
4. Italian "Meatballs" for pasta
5. Fixings for a pizza night
6. Mushroom Barley Soup

Chris said...

I used Edward & Sons bouillon from Whole Foods. I also just got Benson's table tasty and can't wait to try it. It is salt free.

Hi Debbie. I had never heard of sugo either. It was on my home page from simple foods maybe. So I had to start a search for what was sugo exactly. It han have a wide variety of ingredients, but I thing the distinguishing parts are that everything is minced to smithereens and cooks for a long long time til it reduces down from a soupy consistentcy to a thick sauce.

I think a crock pot could be great for getting the flavors together, but then you would probably want to reduce it on the stove.

Chris said...

Oh and congrats Debbie on the new baby. That is SO exciting.

Please post pics when u take them :)

Chris said...

I keep thinking about the possibilities..... You could roast and mince eggplant or peppers if you don't LOVE mushrooms.

I think traditional sugos are all about the beef, pork, bacon, etc., but who needs that?

Eddel29 said...

great presentation! really mouthwatering

Runescape Gold said...

This specific seems to be so excellent! What do you think regarding freezing a variety of it? Using a house of 2, 8-10 amounts appears really challenging!

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the picture I thought it was layered with pineapple! (that's why I clicked it)

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