This versatile sauce can be used as the base for numerous meals. I topped ours with golden squares of puff pastry and served it like a vegetarian pot pie of sorts. You could also turn this idea on its head and fill the flaky pastry with a little goat cheese and a healthy spoonful of the ragu and serve this as a substantial first course, or simply toss the sauce with pasta.
Adapted from Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals
Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 medium leeks (white part only)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds assorted mushrooms (button, crimini, or shitake) cleaned, quartered and shitake stems removed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Bring stock to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat add dried porcini and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes or until they are very soft.
2. Meanwhile, quarter the leeks lengthwise, then thinly slice horizontally. Cover with water and let soak for a few minutes to remove any sand or dirt. Carefully lift leeks out of the water and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until leeks are tender, about 8 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and thyme and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid the mushrooms release has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, lift the porcini mushrooms out of the soaking liquid. Pour liquid through a coffee filter and reserve. Rinse the porcini thoroughly to remove any remaining sand. Coarsely chop porcini, then mix them into mushroom mixture along with the wine; cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
5. Whisk the flour into the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Stir the mixture into the mushrooms; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Remove thyme sprigs and serve.