Roasted Garlic Mushroom Sauce for Literally Everything (Except Dessert)

If you could poke your head in to the screen from wherever it is that you sit and come out here on the other end, you'd smell the aroma of mushrooms and garlic and toasting butter that is currently wafting around me.

You see, there is a pan of this in my oven right now. There is usually a pan of this in my oven a few times a month. This is one of those recipes that you learn in a few minutes, prep in even less, and then can repeat over and over again, always confident that the results will be perfect, delicious, just as you need them.

Dishes like this are important. They may not win stars or draw applause, but they're important because they're the ones that feed us. The ones that we dig into on late nights and cold evenings and then again the next day at work with one hand on the keyboard and eyes on the computer screen. They're the ones that cost very little, but nourish better than the things from the box or the rustling paper bag.

The idea here is simple--mushrooms are sliced and dropped into a baking pan with some hastily crushed garlic, a few pats of butter, a sprinkle of herbs, and a bit of white wine or chicken broth or the end of a beer.

The details are up to you.

You can use cheap white button mushrooms or you can use fancy gourmet kinds. You don't even really have to slice the mushrooms--sometimes I just halve them, or even toss them in whole if I'm really impatient.

You can use gorgeous sprigs of fresh rosemary or just sprinkle on something from the jar you keep in the back of the cabinet just in case.

The garlic is just smashed with the back of a knife--no need to mince or chop. Just shake off the paper and drop it right in. I add lemon juice and zest, but you can skip it (though it is really lovely). A few generous pinches of kosher salt and a big crack of pepper later, and this all goes into the oven where heat magically turns it into a delicious, fragrant sauce.

Let technology do the work while you sort the mail, make the bed, or simply collapse onto the couch to let the day drift off.

Once it's ready--in about 20 or so minutes, depending how many mushrooms you used--the rest is up to you:

You can toss this with cooked pasta and top with grated cheese.

You can toast up a baguette or split open a soft roll, and pile the sauce on thick for an incredibly satisfying sandwich.

You can quickly pan fry some thin chicken breasts, a piece of tilapia, or a even couple simple burger patties, and serve them with the sauce heaped on top.

You can split a baked potato (baked right alongside the sauce), fill it with the mushrooms and top with a bit of yogurt or sour cream.
You can toss with mixed greens or chopped kale for a delicious salad.
You can stir it into cooked quinoa, couscous, or rice for a wonderful side or vegetarian entree.
You can serve this on baked brie or next to a log of goat cheese.
You can even put those chicken breasts right in with the raw mushrooms and herbs and bake the whole thing together for a complete meal.

Honestly, sometimes I just pull the pan out of the oven and attack it with a fork.

It's dinner. And if it nourishes, it counts.

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Roasted Garlic Mushroom Sauce

2 pounds mushrooms (any kind!)
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, ripped into small pieces, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine, light beer, or chicken broth
Kosher salt, black pepper
Minced parsley for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice mushrooms and place in baking dish. Scatter garlic, butter, rosemary sprigs, and lemon zest on top. Pour in lemon juice and wine. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper.

Roast for about 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are dark and tender, and sauce has formed. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with parsley and use as desired. 

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