Saturday, February 16, 2013

Taglatelle aux cepes: Porcini mushroom pasta

Dinner in a Parisian apartment with two twenty something foodies is always fun, and I always mean to share more of it with you all. Here is a jewel from the Jacqueline file.

The French have a love affair with fresh mushrooms. There is a season vaguely in early fall when the world goes crazy for cepes, which are hunted and found and sold and eaten all over the land.

Jacqueline missed that season this year and I benefited from it because she was forced to buy insanely expensive dried mushrooms to satisfy her cravings, which then sat in the cabinet until this blessed monday night when she graced me with a recreation of her italian-chef-exboyfriend's Tagliatelle aux cepes.

Hunting mushrooms would be a whole new level of from scratch cooking, and oh i do plan to get there, but this recipe will hold you over until I break out of this city livin to frolick in the forest.

Also, I highly recommend the chapter in Omnivore's Delima on foraging!

Serves two
- a handful or two of dried porcini mushrooms. More is better, aaand more expensive
- enough pasta for the two
note: Tagliatelle is like a flattened linguini, but better because it is better at grasping onto the sauce that it is served with so both arrive on your palate at the same time
- a small onion, or even better, a couple shallots
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 small clove garlic
- a few spoons of cream or yogurt
- the water the mushrooms were soaked in

Soak dried cepes for 30 minutes ahead of time. Keep this liquid.

This is a story of pasta and sauce. So boil the pasta of your choice, in the amount of your choice, with a splash of olive oil and drain just as it reaches al dente. The pasta will be cooked a bit longer with the finished sauce, and you want it to stay al dente, meaning a bit firmer and not overdone so that it keep some substance.

Squeeze out all the water out of the mushrooms, conserving the soaking liquid.

In a large flat pan, sauté the chopped onion/shallots in a generous amount of butter with a dash of olive oil. Just do it. when butter and olive oil are together, dont question it too much.

Add the chopped garlic when the onions are almost done.

Add mushrooms and let sauté a couple minutes.

Pour in one ladle of the mushroom's soaking liquid and let this simmer. When the liquid is reduced and thickened, add another ladle. Do this for about 10 minutes then stir in the cream or yogurt.

It should be a fairly generous sauce at this point, creamy enough to coat the pasta.

Salt and pepper the sauce, some parsley is pretty and a shake of muscade takes it over the top.

... as would toasted pine nuts...

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, let warm on the stove to meld the flavors and coat the pasta. and serve.

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