Duke Street Mushroom Pasta Sauce


Looking for a meaty pasta sauce without any meat?  Here it is!  Thick and exploding with rich flavors, this mushroom pasta sauce recipe is a keeper in my cookbook binder.

Let me tell you about how this sauce got it's name, first.

Mother's day I told my family that I didn't want to do anything.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  I didn't even want to get out of my pajamas.  The weather was rainy with no chance of sun and the temperature was cool enough to drink hot tea under a blanket.  A perfect day to spend watching old English television dramas on Netflix.

Now, anyone that subscribes to Netflix already knows the joy of watching complete television seasons of old and new shows INSTANTLY.  Well, I had the BBC miniseries, The Duchess of Duke Street, all 15 episodes, waiting in my queue and I was determined to watch as many as I could stand.  I didn't know much about this series, aside from the description given.  But because I've never been disappointed by English dramas, I knew I had nothing to lose.

Well, the first three or four episodes tell of a young, determined woman that goes to work as a cook for a Lord.  She has to forget everything she knows about cooking so she can be properly trained by the proud and excellent French chef that runs the kitchen with the highest of standards.  ---  I told my husband over and over again, "I promise.  I had NO IDEA this was a foodie drama!"

After watching all the steamed flounder, roasted poultry, and pastries galore.  I couldn't take another slothful moment on the couch.  I HAD to get up and cook!  I wanted something rich, saucy and with ingredients that I love to eat.  After all, it was Mother's day, and damn it!  I wanted to eat stuff I love to eat without any regard for the picky eaters in my house.  Whoops, did I say that out loud? Oh well, it's out there now; can't take it back.

I went to work chopping, drizzling, stirring, chopping again, dashing, smigging, chopping up a little more, pureéing, to finally simmering, uncovered, on low heat for 45 minutes.  The outcome of my foodie desires was a thick, dark, rich garlicky mushroom sauce that heavily fell off the ladle onto a bed of fettuccine.  My, my was it thick and beautiful!  And the aroma was divine.  I KNOW it had something to do with the balsamic vinegar I poured in while the mushrooms were cooking with the onions and whole garlic cloves.

Would you be surprised if I told you that we ate our meal in front of my laptop watching more Duchess of Duke Street?  If it had not been for this show, this incredible sauce would not have been created.  My mouth waters now, just thinking back on it.  I'm so looking forward to the leftovers tonight.


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 12-15 whole garlic cloves
  • 8 to 10 small, 2-inch Portabella mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 28-0unce cans San Marzano plum tomates, partly pureéd
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Prep all the vegetables.  Partly pureé the plum tomatoes, leaving a few tomato chunks here and there.  Set aside.

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onions, whole garlic cloves, mushrooms, parsley, Italian seasoning and rubbed sage in olive oil until the onions are translucent but not browned.  If the mushrooms have absorbed the oil and the pot seems dry, drizzle in a little more oil.

Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the initial vinegar aroma has subsided.  It should start to thicken.  Pour in the pureéd tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Stirring occasionally, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  Sauce will thicken more after it cools down.

I actually allowed the sauce to cool and just set in the pot for another hour, until we were ready to eat.  I think this made it even better.  I can't explain how, but it just turned darker and thicker as it cooled.  When the dinner hour was finally upon us, I warmed it up and served it over a bed of fettuccine, with garlic bread on the side, of course.  Heavenly days, what a meal it was!