Home » Blog » Italian Mushroom Stew Recipe from Utica NY

Italian Mushroom Stew Recipe from Utica NY

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy.

This Italian mushroom stew is a rustic stew that is traditional to Utica, NY. This recipe is made with pork, Italian sausage, tomato sauce and lots and lots of mushrooms. Served over Italian bread it is delicious comfort food!

Italian mushroom stew from Utica ,New York

This hearty mushroom stew is a staple Italian American dish that is popular in Utica, NY. While some traditional Central New York foods have become well known, like Utica Greens, this Italian mushroom stew recipe is rarely seen outside the Utica area.

I moved to Utica right after I graduated from college and it is where I met and fell in love with my husband. We worked together and used to go out to lunch at a local bar where they served Italian mushroom stew once a week. So while this isn’t a well known recipe it is one we have always loved.

overhead view of a big pot of Utica mushroom stew

Utica used to be a very heavily Italian American town and every Italian cook had their own version of mushroom stew. In recent years Utica has become more diverse, but mushroom stew is still popular in the area.

You can find a version of it at almost any Italian restaurant in Utica – and there are lots of Italian restaurants in Utica!

What Are the Key Ingredients for Utica Mushroom Stew?

There are many, many different ways to make Utica mushroom stew. Every cook makes little changes to the recipe to put their own stamp on it. But there are three ingredients that almost every recipe includes:

  • Mushrooms
  • Pork
  • Tomatoes

If you have these three key ingredients you are on your way to making a tasty stew. This is my version of mushroom stew, but it is an easy recipe to adapt.

close up of plate of Italian mushroom stew on bread

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I use in Stew?

The best mushrooms to use in this stew are ones that will add woodsy flavor and depth to the stew. The white button mushrooms that you find cheaply at the grocery store are not ideal.

You will have a tastier stew if you use porcini mushrooms or portobello mushrooms. If you can find them and are willing to spend more shiitake, morels or oyster mushrooms are excellent as well.

mushrooms for mushroom stew

I like to buy a small package of mixed variety mushrooms and use that along with portobello mushrooms. That way I get a few different types of mushrooms without spending too much money.

Remaining Ingredients for Utica Mushroom Stew

Pork

You can use almost any kind of pork in this recipe. Pork chops, pork butt or Italian sausage are all frequently used in the stew. Veal is also sometimes used, but I prefer not to cook with veal. You could, of course, leave out the meat and make a hearty vegetarian mushroom stew.

Tomatoes

Utica mushroom stew is supposed to be a red, tomato based stew. You can use tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes, but it has to be red!

Other Vegetables

I use onion, celery and green pepper in my mushrooms stew. All three are pretty traditional and commonly found in the stew. The celery goes very well with mushrooms and enhances their flavor.

ingredients for mushroom stew

Some cooks insist on only using Cubanelle peppers instead of green peppers. Other cooks use hot peppers in the recipe to make it spicier. Fresh herbs like basil or parsley add some delicious flavor to the stew.

No matter what vegetables you add they are there to support the mushrooms. So there should be a lot more mushrooms in the stew than any of the other vegetables.

Cuisinart 766-26 Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot with CoverCuisinart 766-26 Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stockpot with CoverCuisinart 766-26 Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot with CoverOXO Good Grips Utensil Set, 3-PieceOXO Good Grips Utensil Set, 3-PieceOXO Good Grips Utensil Set, 3-Piece

 

How to Make Italian Mushroom Stew

1. Brown the Meat

The first step in making the stew is to brown the pork and sausage in a little bit of olive oil. Use a large heavy stock pot to make the stew and brown the meat right in the stock pot. Once the meat is browned remove it from the pan and set it aside for a few minutes.

browning the meat for mushroom stew

2. Soften the Vegetables

Next add the garlic, celery and onion to the pot and saute over medium heat. Stir for about 5 minutes until the onion has started to soften. Note that you don’t add the peppers or mushrooms in this step!

sauteing the vegetables while making mushroom stew

3. Deglaze the Pot

Deglaze the pot by adding a 1/2 cup of water and stirring well. Make sure you get any browned bits off the bottom of the stockpot so the stew will not stick. You can leave the onions and celery in while you deglaze.

deglazing the stock pot while making mushroom stew

4. Add Most of the Remaining Ingredients

Now it is time to add most of the remaining ingredients to the stew. Return the browned meat to the pot, along with the tomato sauce, herbs and spices. At this point you have added all the ingredients except the peppers and the mushrooms.

adding all the ingredients for the mushroom stew

5. Add the Green Peppers

Once the stew has reached a boil add the green peppers and stir to mix. Then bring the mixture back to a boil.

adding the green pepper to the Italian mushroom stew

6. Add the Mushrooms

After the stew has come back to a boil add in the mushrooms and stir to mix them in. Adding the green peppers and mushroom to the boiling stew instead of softening them first gives the stew some of its distinct flavor.

adding the mushrooms to the mushrooms stew

7. Simmer the Stew

Stir the stew well, then cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Check it periodically and make sure it is not too thick. If it starts to thicken and stick to the bottom of the stock pot add another half cup of water.

cooking the mushroom stew

The amount of water released by the mushrooms will vary, depending on what type you used. So you might have to add water or, if the stew is too thin, take the lid off and let some water evaporate. Use your own judgement based on how thick or thin you want the sauce to be.

I’d recommend not adding tomato paste to the stew to thicken it. It will overwhelm the taste of the mushrooms, which is kind of the entire point of this meal!

overhead view of big pot of Italian mushroom stew

One thing to keep in mind when making Italian mushroom stew is that it is not supposed to end up being a marinara sauce. It is a stew, so it should be soupy and not thick.

Meal Prep Dish

Italian Mushroom stew makes an excellent make ahead meal. It actually tastes better if it cools and is gently reheated. So it is perfect for making a big pot on the weekend while you are doing meal prep for the week. Then reheat it on low heat later in the week.

Utica mushroom stew on two slices of Italian bread

Can I Freeze Italian Mushroom Stew?

This dish freezes very well. Simply ladle the cooled stew into freezer containers and it will keep well in the freezer for up to three months. There is really no loss of flavor from freezing this stew.

Razab 24 Piece Glass Food Storage Containers w/Airtight Lids - Microwave/Oven/Freezer & Dishwasher Safe - Steam Release Valve BPA/ PVC Free -Small & Large Reusable Round, Square & Rectangle ContainersRazab 24 Piece Glass Food Storage Containers w/Airtight Lids – Microwave/Oven/Freezer & Dishwasher Safe – Steam Release Valve BPA/ PVC Free -Small & Large Reusable Round, Square & Rectangle ContainersRazab 24 Piece Glass Food Storage Containers w/Airtight Lids - Microwave/Oven/Freezer & Dishwasher Safe - Steam Release Valve BPA/ PVC Free -Small & Large Reusable Round, Square & Rectangle ContainersZiploc Freezer Bags, Gallon, 28 CountZiploc Freezer Bags, Gallon, 28 CountZiploc Freezer Bags, Gallon, 28 Count

 

How to Serve Utica Mushroom Stew

You can serve mushroom stew almost any way you like. Some people put it over pasta or over polenta. Sometimes I just serve it in a bowl, as a stew all by itself.

But the traditional way to serve Utica mushroom stew is over slices of crusty Italian bread. Put a couple slices of bread on a plate and then ladle the stew over the top.

plate with mushroom stew on bread

Top it off with a little bit more basil and maybe some Parmesan cheese and this tasty dinner is complete. Use a knife and fork to cut the bread and eat the stew, sopping up all the sauce with the bread.

close up of Italian mushroom stew on bread

This recipe takes a little bit of time to make, but it is mostly hands off time while the stew cooks. This stew is an excellent example of a simple, rustic recipe that was designed to feed a large family inexpensively.

So even if you’ve never been to Utica, NY and never plan to visit give this recipe a try! It is a delicious and filling stew that makes excellent comfort food.

pot of mushroom stew with pork seen from the top

Find More Central NY Dishes

Yield: 8

Utica Mushroom Stew

plate with mushroom stew on bread

This Italian mushroom stew is a rustic stew that is traditional to Utica, NY.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cubed pork, from pork loin
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, sliced (hot or sweet)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 12 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 large green peppers, chopped
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, chopped (portobello, porcini, shiitake, oyster)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add 1 T olive oil.
  2. Brown the cubed pork and sliced sausage in the oil. Stir until no longer pink. Remove the browned meat and set aside for a few minutes.
  3. In the same pot add the garlic, onion and celery. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables just start to soften.
  4. Add the water to the stock pot and stir to deglaze. Make sure no bits of meat or vegetables are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Return the meat to the pan, along with the basil, oregano, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add the two cans of tomato sauce to the pot and stir well. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once the pot has reached a boil add the green peppers and stir well.
  7. Bring back to a boil. Once the stew has reached a boil again add the mushrooms and stir well. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1-2 hours. Check the pot every half hour, stir, and make sure the stew is not sticking to the bottom. If it is too thick add another 1/2 cup of water. The stew should have a soupy consistency.
  8. Serve over sliced Italian bread or pasta. Top with more basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

The flavor of this stew improves with rest. So it is an excellent dish to make ahead of time or freeze for later use.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 439Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 1171mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 33g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

This Italian mushroom stew is a rustic stew that is traditional to Utica, NY. This recipe is made with pork, Italian sausage, tomato sauce and lots and lots of mushrooms. Served over Italian bread it is delicious comfort food! #mushroomstew #stew #porkstew
By on September 19th, 2019

12 thoughts on “Italian Mushroom Stew Recipe from Utica NY”

  1. This recipe took me back to when I lived in Utica. This recipe is very close to a grill in Utica called Tiny’s. I made this last night and it is now back in my rotation. Thank you for posting this. Brought back great memories.

    I highly recommend this to y’all to give it a try. It is the quintessential taste of central NY alongside side chicken riggies.

    Reply
  2. I think this is my third time coming back to this recipe page now. Great recipe, instructions, and pictures! I worked in Utica for over five years and lived there for two. Mushroom stew is definitely a Utica staple! I usually pour mine over pasta (penne rigate, like Pelleteiri Joe’s), but I love it over bread as well. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  3. Thank you so much. I lived in Utica for many many years and I remember my grandfather making this stew and when I think of it i can still remember the taste and smell. Thank you this is a wonderful recipe.

    Reply
  4. Thanks so much! I lost my original recipe that I had used for years. This is exactly like it! Good old Utica..still living here for 63 years!!

    Reply
  5. I grew up in Utica and was so happy to find this recipe! My mom used to make this all the time, but she passed away last year and the recipe she gave me is very brief without measurements, cooking times, etc. Thank you for the additional details I was missing! 🙂

    Reply
  6. This is one of my favorite meals!!!!!! Every time I make it, I do something a little different. Today I used a combination of shiitake and crimini mushrooms, and I deglazed with a dry red wine instead of water. Served over penne pasta. (I’m not Italian, but my taste buds are!)

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe