pasta + noodles,  vegetarian

Pasta with Roasted Wild Mushrooms

This dish is one of the most divine things ever.

Another wild mushroom recipe, you ask?

          Absolutely, I say!  And there are many more to come!

I once thought cacio e pepe was the most heavenly pasta dish. Now I think it’s a toss up. My tastebuds were singing the Hallelujah chorus when I put this in my mouth.

The Man (aka taste-tester extraordinaire) would agree.  Damn delicious.

          But why so many recipes with wild mushrooms, Naked Epicurean?

          Because, inquisitive reader, wild mushrooms are

  • delicious
  • meaty (therefore a great meat alternative)
  • rich in B vitamins which are good for the heart, blood, digestion, and skin
  • delicious
  • versatile
  • pretty
  • delicious

And perhaps foremost, because The Man absolutely swoons for them.

Wild mushrooms are insanely more flavorful than cultivated mushrooms.

So…Pasta with Roasted Wild Mushrooms!

Gather a variety of mushrooms for this recipe. Each one is a chorister with its own voice. Choose fresh, if available. Note that you should not wash your mushrooms; they only need a wipe from a cloth when cleaning them.

Try your best to include cèpes (porcinis) because they pack a ton of earthy flavor. Add some shiitake for extra umami and white mushrooms for texture.  

If you do not have a beautiful selection of fresh funghi at your market, opt for dried. Dried mushrooms will add an intensely savory note to this recipe. Simply reconstitute them with hot water, broth, or wine. (I love wine, but plain ol’ water will allow the mushrooms’ personalities to shine.) Break the larger pieces, then submerge in a bowl of liquid. Use a coffee filter to strain the grit from this divine mushroom liquor.

The reconstituted mushrooms must be absolutely dry before roasting, as the amount of liquid they have absorbed will affect your results.  After soaking, lay them on a plate and press them with a paper towel. Do this gently, as they do not like to be molested. Roasting the mushrooms is the secret to the off-the-charts toothsomeness of this dish. I like the dependability of a cast iron pan for this task. I say dependable because it distributes heat evenly. One layer on high heat = crispy, well-browned mushrooms.

These roasty-toasty funghi will be your crowning glory.  

The sauce is simple yet has a surprising depth of flavor from the garlic + shallots + butter + stock. If possible, choose fresh pasta for this dish.  Delicate sauces reign supreme with fresh pasta.

When preparing, you need only enough water to cover your pasta–not a big roiling pot, more like a gentle simmering bath–because fresh pasta is delicate. Your end game here is to have your pasta absorb the flavors, to own the sauce as part of its identity.

To make things even more insanely delicious, you will top this dish with tangy zest + Parmigiano + black pepper + thyme.  I become a little unhinged just thinking about it!

About your Parmigiano: do not buy it pre-shredded/pre-grated. Do it yourself. I am serious. The pre-stuff is covered in waxy stuff that you do not want in your sauce. Why would you sacrifice any of that melt in your mouth sharpness? And while we are on the subject, toss the rind of your parm into your stock. Its nuttiness will intensify the liquid.

When you are ready to slurp up this goodness, pair this pasta with a dry, sparkling wine such as a cava. You are looking for a crisp brut that will slice through the umami-richness of this dish, one with enough complexity to complement the cheese, seasonings and meaty mushrooms.

Then pass the (freshly grated) Parmigiano and manga!

XXOO AB

If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear about it!  Tag #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!

Pasta with Roasted Wild Mushrooms (for 4)
Ingredients
    • 2       tablespoons of butter
    • 3       tablespoons  of olive oil
    • 3       shallots, minced, divided
    • 6-8   garlic cloves, minced, divided
    • 4       cups of chicken stock
    • 1        cup of water
    • 16     ounces of fresh pasta
    • 1       lemon, zested
    • 1 +   cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 4      sprigs of thyme

16    ounces of wild mushrooms (any combination of shiitake, chanterelles,                                      porcini, oyster, white or crimini, also known as baby bellas)

                   pine nuts, toasted

                   S&P

Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently wipe mushrooms with a soft cloth and then coarsely chop them. Place mushrooms, 1 shallot and 2 garlic cloves in a cast iron skillet, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Arrange them in a single layer. Roast them for 20-25 minutes in the oven (or until mushrooms are well browned). Keep your eye on them!  Set mushrooms aside.
    2.  In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
    3.  Add chicken stock and a cup of water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add pasta to boiling chicken stock; reduce heat to a low boil.
    4. Cook pasta until just al dente (do NOT overcook). Turn off heat. In the pot with the cooked pasta add the zest of one lemon, ½ cup of Parmigiano cheese, black pepper, and thyme. Gently toss.
    5. Heap the pasta into individual bowls. Add roasted mushrooms on top and gently toss. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and pass the Parmigiano!

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