On a visit to my local go-to market, I noticed some new types of “wild” mushrooms. I had to do something with them and a wild mushroom cream sauce on a pasta seemed a great way to bring these beautiful mushroom flavours centre stage. On doing a bit of research, I learned that if I am am doing a wild mushroom sauce, I had better include porcini mushrooms. I could only get them dried (very “wild” right?). Despite the challenges in using them, they contributed a great earthy complexity.
The challenge with using dried mushrooms is the grit. thekitchn.com has a great post on this topic. One important learning is that the water you use to rehydrate these mushrooms is at least as important as an ingredient as the mushrooms themselves. I really hate grit in my food, so I was fastidious during the soaking-rinsing process. It took some time. I ended up with a small amount of mushroom volume, and a few cups worth of an amazing mushroom broth. It needed to be strained through a very fine strainer, but it was amazing, and it should be a crime to discard, which is what you might do if you follow the instructions on the jar/pack.
For this particular recipe, especially if time was a constraint, just add the dried mushrooms to the vege stock. Then strain through a fine sieve or cloth. You will have 95% of the amazingness of dried porcini mushrooms, and have saved a lot of time.
I used speck to wrap the asparagus. It has a great complex taste due to all the curing ingredients and wood used for the smoking. The one I used was quite salty (to my taste. I minimise salt in my dishes/diet). The pancetta I can buy from the same place is less salty. As I suggest here, experiment!
Farfalle pasta with wild mushroom cream sauce. Speck wrapped asparagus
- 1 pack farfalle bow-tipasta (400g or so
- Mixed greens for a salad
- delectabilia dressing here
Mushroom cream sauce
- 400 g mushrooms (mix may include shiitake porcini, Japan abalone, or whatever you can get)
- 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 carrots coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic washed and crushed with skins
- 5 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 20 g butter
- 1 glass of a good dry white wine
- 150 ml cooking cream
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp truffle infused oil.
Speck wrapped asparagus
- 24 larger sized spears of asparagus
- 24 slices speck (1 per asparagus spear or 1/2 if they are big enoug(use prosciutto if you can’t get speck)
- Rinse the dried porcini mushrooms, then soak in 2 cups warm water for 1 hour.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms, retaining the water
- Wash the other mushrooms and dice, setting aside the stems
- Individually rinse the porcini mushroom pieces to remove grit (grit can ruin a dish)
- Any pieces of porcini that appear tough or stubbornly gritty, add to the mushroom stems. Add the good bits to the chopped mushrooms
- Too a large saucepan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 coarsely chopped onion, 5 cloves crushed garlic, carrot, bell pepper, mushroom stems.
- Saute the vegetables until onion is transparent
- Add the porcini mushroom water and hot water.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour
- Prepare the asparagus, wrapping the speck around them. Not to much speck per spear, as it is quite salty and smoky.
- Strain the vege stock through fine gauze or a coffee filter
- Saute the diced mushrooms, diced onion, and diced garlic until starting to brown
- Add 2 cups of the vege stock and the glass of wine to the mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes
- Allow to cool a little, then transfer to a suitable container and blend using a hand blender. (Alternatively use a tabletop blender, but pulse blend to retain some chunkiness)
- Return mushroom mixture to the pan and add the cream and pepper. Bring back to a simmer.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Stop cooking when it is still a little firm, as it will cook some more in the mushroom sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, saute the spec wrapped asparagus.
- Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the mushroom sauce. Retain some of the pasta cooking liquid in case you need to water it down a bit.
- Turn off the heat, add the parsley and truffle oil and gently combine.
- Serve with a mixed green salad and delectabilia dressing