Pasta with Portabellas and Tomato Cream Sauce

Oh, Italian food… Making me drool since I discovered spaghetti. Someday, I’m going to try making my own pasta from scratch, but that is all kinds of barrels of work, so I’ll settle for the store-bought kind for now. Tomato cream sauce is a special thing. You can make it a few different ways, and I looked at three recipes to come up with this one. It did turn out a little spicy, but I like it like that.

This recipe will make about 6 servings.


  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (try to get the organic ones since tomatoes are on the Dirty Dozen)
  • 1 cup of cream (try to get organic for this too, since dairy cows are otherwise fed all sorts of weird stuff)
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sugar (adjust this amount to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • ~1/2 cup (+ slightly more for topping) of grated Parmesan (Try to get it in a proper block and grate it yourself. The pre-grated variety at the store is more cellulose than cheese.)
  • ~1 lb pasta
  • 3 large Portabella mushroom caps, sliced


  1. Heat the butter in a medium-large pot. When it’s hot enough to sizzle, add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook for about a minute or two.
  2. Stir in the oregano, dried basil, paprika, crushed red pepper, and black pepper with the vegetables. Let it cook for another minute.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Add a dash of sugar and some salt, to taste.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Take the tomato sauce off of the stove. Stir in the heavy cream, most of the fresh basil, and cheese.
  6. Cook your pasta. Once it is al dente, drain (never rinse) the pasta and set it in the sauce. Reserve about 2 tbsp of the starchy water, and combine it with the pasta sauce. Toss well.
  7. Sprinkle some remaining cheese and fresh basil on each serving of pasta.