Thursday, September 16, 2010
The first mushrooms I ever ate came from a can, and later I discovered the wonders of fresh mushrooms.
Button mushrooms were the first fresh mushrooms I learned how to cook, and I still love them. There are more exotic mushrooms in the stores these days, but button mushrooms are always available and they're comfortingly familiar. They're great raw, cooked, or pickled. What's not to love?
But sometimes one mushroom isn't enough, so I added a portobello for some variety in both texture and flavor.
I love lemon and mushrooms together. Here, it's not so much a flavor as an added brightness. If you want a lemony flavor, add a squeeze of lemon after plating.
Pasta with Mushrooms, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large portobello mushroom, cleaned, quartered and cut in small wedges
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
White pepper, to taste
1/4 cup verjus or white wine
6 small roma tomatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1/2 pound dry pasta
Cook the pasta in salted water, timing it so that it is just short of al dente when the mushroom mixture is finished.
Put the butter and oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat on medium heat until the butter begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to brown. Add salt, lemon juice, and pepper, and continue cooking. They will exude moisture. Keep cooking until all the moisture has evaporated and the pan is dry. (You can cook to this point and turn off the heat if the pasta isn't ready. Heat it up again before continuing.)
Add the verjus (or wine) to deglaze the pan, and cook a few moments until the liquid is bubbling. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine, adding pasta cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta to allow it to finish cooking and absorb mushroom flavor. Add the tomatoes and basil and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired. This is nice served with cheese on top.