Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wild Mushroom Pasta

Our library has a magazine exchange of sorts.  People who have magazines they want to get rid of bring them to the library and put them on a specified table.  Those who want the discarded magazines, pick them up and take them home.  I will occasionally take home something that catches my eye.  One time it was three Gourmet magazines.  I enjoyed looking at them and gathering ideas about presentation, food combinations, etc., but most of the gourmet recipes didn’t fit with my budget or taste buds.  I did tear out a few recipes, and this was one of the keepers.

It is one of our splurgy recipes, and I only make it on occasion.  But it is very worth it!  I did make several adaptations based on my budget, our local grocery options (which are limited), and out taste.  I’ll include them in brackets.  I like to serve this pasta dish with grilled chicken.

Wild Mushroom Pasta

2/3 oz. dried morel or porcini mushrooms [I use dried shitake mushrooms that I find in the oriental section.  It is all I can get at our local grocery store.]

1 ¾ cups boiling-hot water

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter [I use olive oil]

½ lb. fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick

¾ lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms, such as oyster, chanterelle, or porcini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick [I was again forced by availability to substitute.  For these, I substitute plain white mushrooms.  It is probably better with the wild ones, but the white mushrooms are good too.)

1 large garlic clove, minced

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ lb. dried egg fettuccine [I use plain fettuccine]

¼ cup fresh chives, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 ½ teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest [I leave the lemon zest out since my husband doesn’t care for it and increase the lemon juice]

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Parmesan cheese

~Soak dried mushrooms in boiling-hot water in a bowl until softened, about 20 minutes.  Drain in a paper towel lined sieve set over a bowl and reserve soaking liquid, then rinse the soaked mushrooms. [I just fish the mushrooms out to avoid getting another bowl dirty.] Chop the mushrooms finely.

~Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy 12 inch skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saut√© fresh mushrooms with garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the liquid given off by the mushrooms is evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in chopped soaked mushrooms and reserved mushroom soaking liquid and simmer 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

~Cook pasta in a 6 to 8 quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. [I follow the pasta package instructions as cooking times vary depending on the brand and kind of pasta.]  Reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water.  Drain pasta in a colander, and then add it to the mushrooms in the skillet.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over moderately high heat, tossing and adding some pasta cooking liquid if necessary to lightly coat the pasta for about 1 minute.  Add the chives, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Toss it well.  Serve immediately with cheese and pepper to taste.

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