Mushroom Ragu

Prior to this recipe, Dan had never cooked with dried mushrooms, but had always been meaning to try them.  We came across an online sale of a variety of dried mushrooms from a site that sells a lot of cooking stuff, so we decided to try them.  I found a recipe in one of our Cook’s Illustrated magazines for this “Quick Mushroom Ragu,” under the byline asking “Is it possible to achieve deep, satisfying flavor in just 30 minutes?”  The answer is a resounding yes, thanks to those talented folks at America’s Test Kitchen.  This recipe achieves the rich flavor you would expect from a sauce made up of numerous complicated ingredients that cooked all day, yet it’s a relatively quick and easy dish to make with a reasonable amount of accessible ingredients — dried porcini mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, chicken broth, pancetta, olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary (or thyme for rosemary haters like me), tomatoes, and salt & pepper.  Serve over spaghetti or whatever other pasta you like, and garnish with grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.  Simple recipe with fancy flavor — one of my favorite combinations.

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Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Independence Day, but isn’t freedom what America’s birthday is all about?  We like to think so.  July 4th has always been my favorite holiday, and this pizza is now one of my new favorite meals.  I’m not sure what it is I love most about the 4th — fireworks and sparklers, neighborhood get-togethers, meeting new friends, barbeque and picnic food; or maybe that it marks the halfway point of summer, with the promise of several more weeks of fun, sun and good times.  Whatever it is, I think of the Fourth of July as a magical wonderland, and I look forward to it every year.  Happy Birthday America!

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