Pasta ai Funghi – Mushroom Lovers Dream

Happy National Pasta Day!!!  Woohoo a day to celebrate the greatest carb ever invented and my one true love…PASTA!!!  In honor of this glorious day I decided to post a recipe that marry 2 of my favourite ingredients – pasta and mushrooms.  Now I’m not talking your average run-of-the-mill button mushroom.  I’m talking exotic, earthy burst of flavour mushrooms – cremini, shiitake, oyster, enoki, portobello and porchini.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favourite Italian restaurants Gusto 101.   

It’s a true Italian eatery where the space is small but the love, laughter and flavour are big.  gusto-101-22

My favourite pasta dish, hands down, is Mafalde ai Funghi.  It’s ribbons of pasta with forest mushrooms all dressed in a beautiful truffle cream sauce….it’s heaven in your mouth!  The silky, buttery sauce is the perfect compliment for the earthy mushrooms.

Now since I can’t go to Gusto whenever I want, especially now that we got a little guy, I tried to make it at home and let me tell you, it was pretty darn close!  So without any further adieu, let’s get started!

For this recipe you want A LOT, and I mean A LOT of mushrooms.  I like to use a combination of both fresh and dried forest mushrooms.  The grocery store carries a variety pack of gourmet mushrooms which usually include an assortment of: cremini, oyster and shiitake mushrooms.  You can also find the dried mushrooms in the European specialty section.gourmet mushroomsIMG_3508

I first start off by bringing 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a small sauce pan so that I can re-hydrate the dried forest mushrooms.  You can always do this using water or vegetable stock.  Once it is boiling, pop the mushrooms in, turn off the heat and pop on the lid.  Let nature take its course and plump up those morsels with flavour!mushrooms

Next, using a large skillet, I heat up some oil with butter over medium-high and add half of a diced red onion (you can use whatever variety you have on hand).  As they onion is sautéing, I start to slice up all of my mushrooms nice and thin.  Remember to remove the talks of the shiitake and portobello.IMG_3509 IMG_3510

Once the onions are translucent, you know that it is good to go.  Drop all of your mushrooms into the hot tub along with a tablespoon of minced garlic and a few sprigs of thyme.  I also add in a few pats of butter (yes this is a decadent recipe, but it’s National Pasta Day, you’re allowed a few extra calories!)  Toss everything around until it starts to cook down.  Now don’t be worried if it looks like you’re going to throw a few shrooms overboard.  Give it a few minutes and as they start to render their moisture and you will begin to have more room in the pan.  You want to let everything cook for 5-7 minutes stirring every now and then.IMG_3515

After a few minutes, you will notice some liquid in your pan.  Using a slotted spoon, start to add the re-hydrated mushrooms and some of the liquid.  You want to avoid the last few tablespoons of liquid because that is where all of the extra grit from the mushrooms have settled.IMG_3516 IMG_3517 IMG_3518 IMG_3519

At this point you are ready to season.  The reason you want to wait until this point to add salt and pepper is because you want all of the natural flavours of the mushrooms to develop.  If you add salt to the dish right away, it will draw out the liquid from your mushrooms (a little tip I learned from Rachael Ray).  I add a few pinches of salt, lots of black pepper, a tablespoon of dried oregano and parsley and mix everything together.IMG_3520 IMG_3521

Next I add a small container of 10% cream and reduce the heat to medium-low.  The original recipe uses heavy cream and truffles but I opted to use 10% because it’s not as heavy.IMG_3523

As everything comes to a simmer, begin to remove the thyme sprigs using a pair of tongs.IMG_3527

After that, add the zest and juice of half of a lemon for brightness.IMG_3528

Next add your choice of cooked pasta, I used linguini because that is what I had in the pantry but any long pasta would do, and top it off with 1/2 cup of good quality shredded parmigiano reggiano.IMG_3529

Turn off the heat and toss everything around for a few minutes.  Don’t rush this step, you want to take your time to make sure that the sauce coats every strand of pasta and that the mushrooms infuse together with the lemon zest.

And that is it folks!  My take on Gusto 101’s Mafalde ai Funghi.  I serve it up with a drizzle of olive oil and some extra parmigiano.IMG_3531

I hope that you try this out and let me know what you think.  Celebrate National Pasta Day with your favourite bowl by taking a picture and tagging me in it.  Love to see what you’re eating and it may inspire me for a new recipe! My love for carbohydrates is endless!

Until next time!
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Pasta ai Funghi – Mushroom Lovers Dream

Pasta ai Funghi – Mushroom Lovers Dream

Ingredients

  • 1 large pack of gourmet mushrooms
  • 1 pack of Enoki mushrooms
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms
  • 30g of dried forest mushrooms
  • 1/2 of a diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 small container (237ml) of 10% cream
  • juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6-8 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Bring your stock to a rolling boil and drop your container of dried mushrooms in. Put on the lid and turn off the heat.
  2. Sautee onion in a little bit of olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  3. Add all of your sliced mushrooms along with your garlic and butter.
  4. Allow everything to cook down for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, add your re-hydrated mushrooms and a little bit of the cooking liquid leaving the last few tablespoons.
  6. Add your herbs and spices.
  7. Add your cream and remove thyme sprigs.
  8. Add lemon juice and zest.
  9. Add your pasta and parmigiano reggiano.
  10. Toss for a few minutes to incorporate all of the flavours.
  11. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some shredded parmigiano reggiano.
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