Okay, I know I've been really, really bad about blogging lately. It's not that I haven't been cooking, but overall it's been a bit spontaneous and (occasionally) experimental, and I haven't had the time or energy to measure things and write them down. Anyway, if you missed me, mea maxima culpa. If you didn't, well fine, be that way; I didn't miss you, either. Sheesh.
Now that the apologies are sorted, I can tell you about last night's dinner. If you don't like mushrooms and weren't tipped off by the title of this post, you should probably stop reading now, because this is all about putting extra "fun" in the fungus. My partner and I recently celebrated an anniversary, which we marked in traditional fashion: a picnic in a graveyard. Ever since our First Official Date, at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, this has been our standard grand day out. Yesterday's was at the locally notorious, supposedly haunted Friends Cemetery popularly known as Spider Gates. What does this have to do with mushrooms, you ask? Well, hang on a minute and I'll tell you! On the way we stopped at a local "gourmet" shop to pick up some wine, and while we were there I spotted this beautiful mushroom linguine. It was dark, earthy, and all kinds of "artisanal" (a word that makes me stabby, but there it is); so of course it had to go home with us despite its vaguely obscene price.
Okay, but once I got it there, what to do with it? This was not Prince spaghetti that you pour a jar of marinara over, dump onto a plate and then shout "Anthony!" out the window. For one thing, there's no Anthony in my family, and if someone started shouting in my neighborhood, people would freak out. No, no, no, this was special pasta, the kind that has to be perfectly al dente, the kind that mustn't be overwhelmed by lashings of crude and vulgar sauces, the kind that restaurants serve with morels or capers or shallots or truffle oil. Well, guess what, Jack? I just happened to have shallots and white truffle oil right in my very own cupboard, and they provided the starting point for what follows. I also had fresh basil, some baby portobellos and a container of soy creamer, none of which I was in the least afraid to use. Mind, if you don't have any fancy flavored linguine on hand, this would work equally well with any good pasta; just don't be shy with the shroomage, right?
Maximum Shroomage Pasta
~ 1 lb. linguine
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 4 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby portobellos)
~ 1 cup chopped shallots
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, tarragon
~ 3/4 cup dry white wine
~ 3/4 cup vegetable broth
~ 1 cup soy creamer
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ 1/2 cup sliced scallions
~ 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
~ 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
~ 2 tsp. white truffle oil (optional, but lovely)
~ Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Set aside.
~ In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil; saute the mushrooms for 3 minutes over medium heat.
~ Add the garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, thyme and tarragon; cook another 5 minutes or so.
~ Pour in the white wine and simmer until wine is reduced by (about) half.
~ Add vegetable broth, soy creamer, and nutmeg; simmer until sauce thickens.
~ Add scallions, basil and lemon juice; cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
~ Add drained pasta to sauce and tossing gently to coat; if necessary, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to get the consistency you want.
~ Drizzle on the truffle oil (if using) and serve with a green salad and cold white wine.