Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray

Portabella Cacciatore

Still snowed in……still cooking.  Portabella Cacciatore is another Rachael Ray recipe that you should print out and save.  It’s one of those “slow down your life and let the sauce simmer while you have a glass of wine” recipes.  When it is well below freezing outside and you feel like hybernating…..bring on the pasta, just work out a little extra tomorrow.

The sauce is many layers of flavors and textures.  It tastes like it was really complicated to make so don’t tell anyone that it wasn’t.  There are two types of mushrooms in the sauce, portabella and dried porcini.  I have never cooked with dried porcinis.  I Googled them to find out more about them.  Porcini means “piglet” in Italian.  They have a meat-like texture and have an earthy, somewhat nutty flavor. Porcini mushrooms are a passion in Italy therefore I am cooking tonight’s dinner with a little passion.  I also learned that these mushrooms live in a symbiotic relationship with the trees they grow under.  Yes, I had to Google what a symbiotic relationship was. A symbiotic relationship is one in which two organisms from different species interact.  So the mushrooms must have a deep relationship with the trees they are living under….is that the passion the Italians are talking about?  Anyway, the ones I bought at the grocery store are dried and in a bag, found in the produce section right by the portabellas.

The sauce starts by chopping up the portabellas and browning them in some EVOO.  I did learn from my cooking coach (Rachael Ray) that you should never rinse mushrooms under water, it will make the mushroom have a rubbery texture when they cook.  You should just rub them down with a damp towel….sort of like a sponge bath.  The porcinis get put in a sauce pan to be reconstituted in some chicken stock aka “stock in a box”. 

After the portabellas  are browned you add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, a bay leaf, fresh rosemary, tomato paste, peppers and some other fabulous stuff (get the recipe from  Make sure you take time to smell the fresh rosemary because it is an instant mood lifter.  There are 6 kids running around my house (everyone has a friend over due to the endless snow days), a fort is being built in the living room, Nerf guns are being shot, iPods with various music can be heard, there are videos of Barbies being made upstairs, girls are singing “Love Story” and I’m in the kitchen smelling fresh rosemary.  It’s another day in paradise.

Wine is added to the sauce and as it simmers I’m tempted to have some, so I do…..just a tiny bit.

I added the sauce to the pasta just like Rachael did, one ladle at a time while I mixed it thru.  The rest of the sauce was added on top with some fresh flat leaf parsley and lots of Pecorino Ramon cheese.  I tasted just a little……phenominal!

My family didn’t get to eat this dish, I will make it again for sure.  Tonight’s dinner is for my neighbor Carole (and her family, of course).  I call Carole one of the original “desperate housewives” on my street.  She did live just two houses up then moved to Arkansas only to move back 2 years later just one street over.  Her daughter Maddy and my daughter Kayt love to hang out together and they even cooked Rachael Ray’s bagel sticks together not to long ago (there is a blog about that).  Carole’s aunt has passed away so I hope this dinner brings some peace and comfort to their family.


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  1. * Carol Mullen says:

    Sounds heavenly! You’re such a good writer! I’m going to make this for Chris. Love you!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Carole says:

    Thanks so much, Tracy. We all enjoyed it. I felt a little less “desperate” as I warmed it up and gobbled it down : ) It was the perfect choice for a snowy day, and I ate it with heartfelt gratitude for such a good and thoughtful friend as you. Love you!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago

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