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Vegetable Cacciatore Pasta


  • 1/4 cup EVOO

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, gills scraped, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced

  • 2 cubanelle peppers, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 1 small red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 2 small or 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced

  • 1 small rib celery, very finely chopped

  • 2 small red Fresno chiles, very thinly sliced

  • 4 clove garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

  • 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine

  • 1 (28- or 32-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes (look for DOP on the label)

  • 1 pound whole wheat or whole-grain penne

  • A handful of grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving


In a large skillet, heat the EVOO (4 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the portobellos and brown them (be sure you brown the mushrooms before you add any more ingredients). Add the zucchini, cubanelles, bell pepper, onion, celery, chiles, garlic, rosemary, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables sweat out.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the porcini and stock and bring to a boil. Reduced to low and let them cook out until they’re tender. Reserving the cooking liquid, scoop out the porcini and chop.

Add the chopped porcini to the vegetables and stir in the tomato paste and cook out until fragrant. Add the wine and let reduce by half, then add the reserved mushroom stock with the exception of the last few spoonfuls, where the grit can settle. Add the tomatoes, crushing them up a bit with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer the sauce for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Before draining, ladle out about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and transfer to a large skillet. Bring the water to a boil, add the pecorino, butter, and about a quarter of the thick vegetable sauce. Drain the pasta, add to this thinner sauce, and toss together to combine. Serve in shallow bowls, ladling more of the thick vegetable sauce up on top of the pasta. Garnish with a little flat leaf parsley and lots of pecorino cheese.