mushroom cacciatore with campanelle pasta

“Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. (You mushroom hunters will be especially excited about this dish.)
Tip: Take five minutes to make a batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (pictured) — delicious sprinkled on top! Serve pasta with a side salad and your favorite rustic bread.

mushroom cacciatore

Mushroom Cacciatore with Campanelle Pasta
"Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian. (Mushroom hunters will be especially excited about this dish!) Tip: Take five minutes to make a batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (recipe below) -- delicious sprinkled on top! Serve pasta with a side salad and your favorite rustic bread.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 32 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large bay leaf (do not omit this!)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 28-ounce can organic Italian-style peeled whole tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta (or pasta of choice -- see Notes)
  1. Heat olive oil and vegetable broth in a 5- or 6-quart pot. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook mushrooms down for 5 to 7 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley, basil, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to pot. Stir everything to combine, being careful not to break the bay leaf. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more.
  3. Pour the Italian-style peeled whole tomatoes into a medium-sized bowl and use your hands (or a potato masher or a wooden spoon) to break them up.
  4. Add the Italian tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red wine to the pot of vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 50 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and vegetables are tender.
  5. Cook pasta following package direction time for al dente pasta. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Remove the bay leave from the mushroom cacciatore, pour over pasta, and toss to coat.
  7. Top with cashew Parmesan cheese and serve with baby arugula with balsamic (or your favorite side salad) and a fresh rustic bread.
Choose your favorite pasta for this dish, but keep in mind that chunky vegetable sauces like this one tend to go best with short pastas, which have crevices to trap the sauce and veggies!


chocolate-dipped italian cornmeal cookies (with or without sea salt!)

It’s like a piece of cornbread married a shortbread cookie and they went skinny dipping together in chocolate.
Recipe adapted with modifications from Once Upon a Chef.

chocolate dipped cornmeal cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Italian Cornmeal Cookies (With or Without Sea Salt!)
It's like a piece of cornbread married a shortbread cookie and they went skinny dipping together in chocolate.
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons plant-based butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free Spread)
  • ½ cup vegan granulated sugar (I used Florida Crystals)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground golden flax seed + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 11/2 cups + 3 level tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil or vegetable oil (note: if you don't want your cookies to have the faint taste of coconut, go for the flavorless vegetable oil)
  • Sea salt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, make your flax eggs by combining the ground flax and water. Set aside; the mixture will become goopy like an egg within a few minutes (you may need to stir once or twice).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the vegan butter and sugar together for several minutes until the mixture becomes pale in color, creamy, and almost fluffy in appearance. Use a spatula to wipe down sides of bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the vanilla and flax eggs, and beat for another minute until everything is combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. (If you don't have a sifter, use a whisk.)
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat on a low speed until just combined.
  7. Cover the dough and refrigerate for one hour. (If you leave the dough in the fridge longer than this (or even overnight), make sure to take it out and let it come down a bit in temperature. You want the dough to be cool enough to handle but not so cold that the cookies won't spread in the oven.)
  8. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough, and roll into balls. Place balls on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets and flatten into disks with your hand. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until cookies are pale on top and lightly golden on the bottom. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Line a cold baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. In a double boiler over a medium heat (or in the microwave in 40-second intervals), melt the chocolate chips and your oil of choice together. Dip cookies about halfway into chocolate and transfer to the baking sheet.
  11. Sprinkle cookies with a bit of sea salt (if desired; to please everyone, I like to do half with sea salt, half without), and transfer entire baking sheet to refrigerator so the chocolate will harden and cool quickly.
  12. Store cookies in air-tight container, preferably in the fridge (particularly if it's warm in your home).
These cookies are extremely versatile. You can add mini vegan chocolate chips to the batter if you prefer that to dipping them after they're baked. If you're not a chocolate fan (gasp!), leave it off and enjoy them plain. You can try dipping the cookie-dough disks into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking for a snickerdoodle-esque twist. Or, try throwing some wild blueberries into the batter. Weeee!