Porcini tomato sauce is a delicious, flavorful option to the standard sauce. I like to change it up and serve over polenta. Creamy polenta is easy to make and taste fabulous. If you prefer a vegetarian option, omit the anchovies.
You can also make the sauce a day ahead and reheat it. Or freeze for future use.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets, minced, optional
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup mushroom soaking liquid
1 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, I use Cento tomatoes
2 tablespoons Butter
Parmesan for serving (optional)
Fresh basil for serving (optional)
In a bowl, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes or until they become soft. Strain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside. You can start this step while you get your pasta water ready and gather your ingredients.
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Strain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize and take on some color.
Add the sliced garlic, anchovies and crushed chili flakes and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring constantly until the anchovies melt into the oil.
Now add the tomato paste and porcini mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the sherry and let it reduce for a few minutes while scrapping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, tomatoes and salt and turn the heat to medium high.
Bring the sauce to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Use a potato masher or the back of your spoon to gently crush the tomatoes as the sauce cooks.
3 cups Water
1 cup Corn Grits – Polenta
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
In a large, deep pan over high heat bring water and sea salt to a boil; gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick (about 30 minutes); use a long-handled spoon because mixture pops and bubbles and can burn.
Stir in butter. Add cheese.