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