This recipe produces an umami-rich sauce that coats thick spaghetti with a savory meatless sauce. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making this dish again and again. Make extras to spread on toasted Italian bread and broil for an easy appetizer or fill tomatoes and bake for another light, vegetarian meal.

Double Duty Recipe: This vegetarian sauce makes for some great appetizers. See Notes.


  • 28-ounce can, diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or broth
  • 2 rosemary sprig, roughly chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flake, optional
  • 1 pound regular, or gluten free, thick spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino, finely grated, plus more for serving (substitute nutritional yeast or other cheese substitute for cheese to make the recipe vegan)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Finely chop mushrooms or pulse in a food processor until finely ground and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes and their juices.
  3. Heat butter and oil (or all oil) in a large pot over medium and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and mix well. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Season with salt.
  5. Add wine or broth and increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often, and until the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and chopped rosemary. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix well and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 35-45 minutes or until thickened. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  7. While the sauce thickens, bring a large pot of water and 1/4 cup salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and then drain.
  8. Return pasta to pot over low heat and add the sauce. Stir gently to combine, add the cheese or nutritional yeast, and drizzle with olive oil. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the dish and stir. Continue adding the water until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency and clings to the pasta.
  9. Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese or nutritional yeast.


There are several other uses for this sauce besides a pasta dish:

  • Make extra sauce to spread on toasted, Italian bread. Sprinkle with grated cheese or cheese substitute and broil.
  • Core and remove seeds from tomatoes, stuff with cremini mixture, and bake for at 350°F for 30 minutes.