It seems like I've been seeing mushrooms everywhere I turn - featured in magazines and cooking shows - and since I'm a big fan of it myself, I was inspired to try a new recipe. I've never cooked with dried mushrooms with the exception of Chinese shiitake and this pasta dish gave me the chance to cook with dried porcini mushrooms.
|Pappardelle pasta with dried porcini, shallots, garlic and thyme|
I've been having a great time trying out new savory recipes and been rewarded with some definite keepers. This one goes on that list. This pasta (I used pappardelle, which I love, but you could also use tagliatelle or other noodles) is coated with a light sauce that's like a ragu, in my mind, only it's vegetarian and quick to make.
The porcini mushrooms are so intense - meaty, and with a strong flavor that carries the dish. I played around with the recipe a bit, doing things like using shallots instead of onions and less tomato paste than called for because I wanted the porcini flavor to be the main focus.
A little goes a long way with the dried porcini and when you reconstitute it in a little stock, you end up with not only moist, plump mushrooms but also a deep, dark, flavorful liquid that becomes a serious flavor addition to your dish.
This made a very delicious, satisfying weekend lunch recently. Even the little guy, who's no longer a mushroom fan (he once was as a toddler) enjoyed some while my husband savored his generous bowl. That always puts a smile on my face.
If you like mushrooms but rarely cook with dried ones, maybe it's time to mix things up and give it some attention. I am eager to make porcini risotto soon.
Speaking of dried mushrooms, I was at Whole Foods shopping for the porcini when I looked around at the other varieties available. I picked up a container of dried morels and did a double-take! The little container was priced at about $40 and the price per pound was listed at...$300 (I'm rounding up a penny or two)! I was in disbelief - I never knew dried morsels were that expensive! Even the salesperson near me, who I had to grab and ask if this was a mistake, had to check with someone in the department! Did you know that dried morels were that pricey?!
|A little over an ounce of dried porcini mushrooms that's been reconstituted in stock|
Luckily, the mushrooms I used for this dish cost less than $5...much more affordable! Since that's the prime ingredient for this pasta, it's not only quick to make but also quite economical (not to mention, delicious). That's the beauty of pasta.
I used an 8 oz. packet of egg pappardelle pasta from Trader Joe's for this dish. I love pappardelle, particularly paired with any kind of ragu-like sauce such as this.
So picture...pasta noodles coated with an earthy sauce of savory porcini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, also flavored with some white wine and tomato paste, and finished with a pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. A light snowfall of parmesan cheese completes it. Can you taste it?
Papardelle with Porcini and Shallots
Adapted from Porcini Lovers' Tagliatelle recipe featured in the Nov. 2014 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray
- Serves 2 to 4 -
About 1 1/3 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
About 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 rounded tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot (or 2 smaller ones), sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 scant tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Generous 1/3 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
8 oz. dried egg pappardelle (or tagliatelle)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
Place mushrooms into a small saucepan and add the stock. The stock should just cover the mushrooms. Bring to a simmer over medium-heat, then reduce heat to low and let sit for about 15 minutes until mushrooms are reconstituted. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cutting board; coarsely chop. Reserve the mushroom soaking liquid.
Salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until shallots soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cook for about 1 minute, then add wine. Simmer until wine is reduced by about half, roughly 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the reserved mushroom liquid, being careful to avoid the grit at the bottom of the pan. Stir in the butter and reduce the heat to low. Add a ladle of the pasta cooking water into the sauce, along with the lemon juice.
Drain pasta and add into the skillet. Add a bit of parmesan cheese over the pasta and toss well to combine. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in bowls, topped with an additional dusting of parmesan cheese.