5 from 13 votes

Easy Mushroom Ragu (Ragout) 

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This tasty mushroom ragu is ready in only 20 minutes! It features a yummy crispy breadcrumb topping and rich flavour. Enjoy this cosy meal during the week.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
£1.48
Makes: 4
mains
Italian
Freezable

This mushroom ragu offers the same rich, delicious meatiness as a traditional Italian meat ragu, though it only requires 20 minutes (or less!) of your time! Made with chestnut mushrooms, tomato puree, aromatic fresh herbs, and panko crumbs, this easy dish is one you’ll want to keep in your recipe repertoire.

Cooked rigatoni in a pan with a tomatoey mushroom sauce mixed with a wooden spoon with a bowl of browned breadcrumbs on a blue background.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This version of mushroom ragu is budget and time-friendly. It only requires a few ingredients yet yields a delightful, cosy dish you’ll want to eat throughout the week. You’ll find a yummy tomato mushroom sauce, chewy pasta, and a crispy basil panko topping with each bite.

This decadent mushroom ragout dish offers a meaty taste without using meat. So, it’s an excellent option for vegetarians or those who want to enjoy less meat during the week. If you want to pack in more nutrients, you can easily add veg to the dish without affecting the flavour. Use leftover rigatoni to make one of the following recipes: Rigatoni Fiorentina, Spicy Rigatoni Vodka, or Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake.

What Is In A Ragu?

Ragu is a tomato sauce typically simmered with ground mince for a long period. It can also contain ingredients like onions, carrots, celery, and aromatic herbs/spices. I’ve replaced the meat with minced mushrooms for an equally meaty consistency in this mushroom ragu dish.

Best Mushrooms for Meaty Texture
I love using chestnut mushrooms to create a meaty texture in mushroom ragu. However, you can use other varieties to create a similar consistency in this mushroom ragù recipe, like oyster, portobello, and cremini mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms are also delightful in this dish. These options all soak up sauce well and help create a hearty consistency.

Fresh mushrooms work best for this recipe. However, you can use options like dried porcini mushrooms. Though, you’ll need to rehydrate them first.

Is ragu vegetarian?
Traditionally, ragu is not vegetarian as it typically contains ground mince. However, you can easily swap meat with mushrooms (like in this mushroom ragu dish) to create a similar texture and flavour.

Different Ways to Use Mushroom Ragu

One of the best parts about this mushroom ragu recipe is that the sauce is versatile. If you don’t want to eat it over rigatoni pasta, you can use mushroom ragu as a topping for polenta, pizza, lasagna, gnocchi, etc. You can even eat this mushroom ragu as a dip with breadsticks or garlic bread.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make mushrooms with rigatoni laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Tomato Puree
Using tomato puree in mushroom ragu is a great way to create a tomato sauce base, as you can adjust the flavours to your preference. You can also use canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste (with water/stock), or passata as a replacement.

Rigatoni
Rigatoni is a top choice for making ragu, as the ridges on the pasta easily catch the ragu sauce. However, you can use penne or fusilli for an equally tasty dish.

Panko Breadcrumbs
If you prefer Italian breadcrumbs, you can use those instead in this mushroom ragout recipe. Gluten-free breadcrumbs will also work well.

Variations

This mushroom ragu dish is easy to alter to your taste preferences, making it an excellent choice for people of all ages (and picky eaters!). Here are a few variations/adaptations to try.

You can use any type of mushroom variety in this recipe, such as portobello mushroom, cremini mushroom, oyster mushroom, and porcini mushroom. To keep the recipe more budget-friendly, I use chestnut mushrooms. You can also include any type of tubular pasta (or gluten-free option) that you desire in this recipe.

If you want a more elevated dish (and the cost isn’t a factor), you can include ingredients like wine, milk, cream, and mince in the dish. Another way to adjust the flavour to your needs is by adding red pepper flakes for heat. Start with 1 tsp and add more to taste.

How to make this recipe

  1. Start by adding 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and the chopped mushrooms into a deep frying pan on a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently (Image 1).
  2. Then, on a low heat, add the finely chopped onion to fry for a further 5-8 minutes. Slowly the excess moisture will evaporate so that the mushrooms and onion can start to take on some colour and caramelise.  Now add the tomato puree and garlic (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with finely sliced mushrooms in a pan and the second with finely sliced onions added to the pan with the mushrooms.

3. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic to the pan (Image 3).

4. Continue to stir and gently fry the tomatoey/mushroom mix until fully incorporately (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with finely sliced mushrooms and onions fried in a pan with a dollop of tomato paste and minced garlic and the second with these mixed together in the pan.

5. Meanwhile, add the rigatoni into salted boiling water, with the timer set to the packet instruction time, minus 2 minutes (Image 5).

6. Reserve the pasta water while draining the rigatoni and transfer the undercooked pasta into the deep frying pan. Add around 3 ladles of pasta water (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with finely pasta in water in a saucepan and the second with the cooked pasta added to sauce in a pan.

7. Stir to coat the rigatoni in the sauce and continue to cook until the pasta water has emulsified to form a glossy, delicious tomato sauce (Image 7).

8. Now add the panko breadcrumbs into a separate frying pan with the remaining oil, chopped basil and a pinch of flaky salt. Gently fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with cooked pasta and sauce in a pan with tongs and the second with bread crumb toasting in frying in a pan with chopped green herbs.

Serve the mushroom ragu with the salty, toasted basil breadcrumbs and an additional sprinkle of basil.

A close up of cooked rigatoni with a tomatoey mushroom sauce with browned breadcrumbs and chopped basil topping.

For pasta lovers, try these tasty recipes : Creamy Chicken and Chorizo Pasta, Easy Meatless Baked Ziti (Vegetarian) and Creamy Bacon Pasta

Tips for the best result

Chop the mushrooms finely
Finely chopping the mushrooms is the key to creating a meaty texture in this mushroom ragu. By mincing them into small bits, they more closely resemble the consistency of ground meat.

Undercook the pasta
It’s best to undercook the pasta slightly, as it will help keep it from getting mushy in the fridge. Follow the directions on the package, but remove them from the boiling water for about 2 minutes before noted on the box.

Top with parmesan cheese
If you prefer an extra-cheesy dish, add freshly grated parmesan cheese to each plate of ragu before serving.

    Cooked rigatoni in a bowl with a tomatoey mushroom sauce topped with browned breadcrumbs and chopped basil with partial view of the pan behind.

    Make-ahead instructions/ Storage instructions

    This mushroom ragu is an excellent make-ahead recipe. Simply split this ragu with mushrooms into four equal portions and pack them in airtight containers. This mushroom pasta can stay in the fridge for up to five days. Ensure you store the breadcrumbs separately so they maintain their crunch.

    To reheat this recipe, add 2 tbsp of water and microwave a portion for 2 minutes on high. Top with breadcrumbs and enjoy! If the breadcrumbs are no longer crispy, toast them for a few minutes before adding them to the pasta.

    How to Freeze Vegan Ragu

    You can freeze this recipe if you plan on making extra mushroom ragu for future meals. Do not make extra pasta, as it does not typically freeze well. Instead, only make extra ragu sauce. Then, cook the pasta fresh when you’re ready to enjoy a plate of mushroom ragu pasta.

    To freeze the vegan ragu sauce, put it in an airtight bag once it has cooled. It will keep in the freezer for up to six months. Defrost the sauce by placing the bag in the fridge overnight.For more cosy meals, consider making the following vegan pasta recipes during the week: Easy Quorn Bolognese and Easy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta, or

    FAQs

    What does ragu mean?

    Ragu translates to meat sauce. It’s a common sauce in Italian cuisine.

    Why put milk in ragu?

    In traditional ragu recipes, the milk helps tenderize the meat, balance out the acidity from the tomatoes, and create a rich sauce. I don’t use milk in this mushroom ragu to help keep it dairy-free. Skipping the milk also makes this recipe more budget-friendly.

    Why do you cook ragu for so long?

    Many ragu recipes require a long cook time, which helps remove the moisture and allows the flavours to mingle. However, you can create a quick ragu (like my recipe) that yields a delicious, speedy result. I also skip the lengthy cooking process for budget reasons.

    Should ragu be cooked covered or uncovered?

    If you’re following a traditional recipe, it requires the sauce to be cooked uncovered and covered. The first half of the cook time should include a cover, as it will ensure the sauce doesn’t lose too much moisture. Then, cook the second half uncovered to reduce the sauce.

    What is the best way to thicken a ragu?

    You can allow the ragu sauce to simmer for longer to help reduce the moisture. Or, you can add flour to thicken the sauce. You need about 2 tbsp of flour for every cup of liquid.

    Can you make this ahead?

    Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time! Follow the directions above, and you’ll have a tasty wild mushroom ragu ready to enjoy the entire week.
     
    I love creating this mushroom ragu alongside the following dishes: Air Fryer Green Beans, Crispy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, or Viral Crispy Feta Eggs

    If you tried this Easy Mushroom Ragu recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

    Easy Mushroom Ragu (Ragout) 

    Print
    5 from 13 votes
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 20 minutes
    £1.48
    mains
    Italian
    Freezable
    Servings: 4
    This tasty mushroom ragu is ready in only 20 minutes! It features a yummy crispy breadcrumb topping and rich flavour. Enjoy this cosy meal during the week.

    Ingredients

    • 250 g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped (£0.80)
    • 1 red onion, finely chopped (£0.50/3)=(£0.17)
    • 5 tbsp tomato puree (£0.60)
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (£0.69/3)=(£0.23)
    • 400 g rigatoni (£0.85)
    • 35 g panko breadcrumbs (£1.25)
    • Bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped (£0.55)
    • 2 bags rocket salad (Optional side) (£0.75x2)=(£1.50)

    Cupboard Essentials

    • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Flakey sea salt if possible

    Method

    • Add 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and the chopped mushrooms into a deep frying pan on a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
    • Then, add the finely chopped onion to fry for a further 5-8 minutes, reducing the heat to medium/low. We want all the excess moisture to evaporate so that the mushrooms and onion can start to take on some colour and caramelise.
    • Next, add the tomato puree and garlic to gently fry in the pan. At this stage, add the rigatoni into salted boiling water, timer set to the packet time minus 2 minutes. Continue to stir & gently fry the tomatoey/ mushroom mix during this time.
    • Reserving the pasta water, transfer the undercooked pasta into the deep frying pan along with 3 ladles of pasta water. Stir to coat the rigatoni in the sauce and continue to cook until the pasta water has emulsified to form a glossy, delicious tomato sauce.
    • Add the panko breadcrumbs into a separate frying pan with the remaining oil, chopped basil and a pinch of flakey salt. Gently fry until golden brown (couple of mins). Serve the mushroom ragu with the salty, toasted basil breadcrumbs and an additional sprinkle of basil. So damn good

    Notes

    • Finely chopping the mushrooms is the key to creating a meaty texture in this mushroom ragu. By mincing them into small bits, they more closely resemble the consistency of ground meat.
    • It's best to undercook the pasta slightly, as it will help keep it from getting mushy in the fridge. Follow the directions on the package, but remove them from the boiling water for about 2 minutes before noted on the box.
    • If you prefer an extra-cheesy dish, add freshly grated parmesan cheese to each plate of ragu before serving.

    Nutrition

    Servings: 4 servings
    Fat: 12g
    Calories: 537kcal
    Carbohydrates: 87g
    Protein: 15g

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    Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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