The great thing about cooking for yourself is that you can basically do whatever you want in your own kitchen. There are no hard, fast rules. You whip up a work of art or prepare something simple, experiment with unlikely combinations, try new cuisines, whatever you like. Cooking is your own personal canvas and who’s to say your latest creation isn’t a masterpiece? As long as it tastes good and you really like it!
So with that said, have I just created my greatest masterpiece? Or just a simple pencil drawing?
Well simple it is. So simple, you can barely call it a recipe. The markets are loaded with all sorts of mushrooms at the moment and I just had a craving for a warm and hearty “vegetarian-ish” meal. Okay, admittedly this mixed mushroom ragu dish isn’t entirely veg friendly. I use veal stock to give it depth and richness of flavor. But I think the wow factor here is the mushrooms. It seems like I used a lot, but just remember they do shrink up. You can use a mix of whatever your favorite mushrooms may be. I used fresh cremini, shiitake and king oyster (also known as king trumpet mushrooms), plus some dried porcini mushrooms. Feel free to boost the flavor of this mushroom ragu by using even more dried mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are great for adding a fabulously rich, earthy, meaty and savory note, plus they have a high umami-factor.
I can just my friend Anna cringing at the thought of this recipe. After a childhood spent foraging for all kinds of mushrooms, and endless mushrooms meals with her family, she is 100% mushroom adverse. I’m pretty sure she achieved her 10.000 hours of mushroom picking, yes…the master levels. Pity she can’t put it to use. But I’m also convinced, after all this grown-up time, that if I served her up a something that involved a sizzling skillet, some butter, garlic, white wine, a few unassuming mushrooms and some fresh herbs… she’d be all in.
Yes, love mushrooms, even if I tend to forget about them from time to time. Love them for their texture, and that there are just so many different kinds of them, and that they seem to go amazingly well with any savory dish. So here I am with a simple pasta dish full of all sorts of mushroom flavors and plenty of garlic to marry it all together. Enjoy!
This is a super easy and quick to prepare mushroom ragu and pasta dish, making it the perfect choice for a midweek meal. Serve with a green salad or feel free to toss the pasta with a handful of baby spinach before dishing up.
PS) Skip the deep clean and just brush the mushrooms off a little, otherwise you risk them soaking up all the moisture. Mushrooms, especially wild mushrooms—are like little sponges. Medium high or high heat will get rid of all that liquid, and will give the mushrooms a nice brown color.
Pasta with Mixed Mushroom Ragu
30 g dried porcini mushrooms (more if desired)
2/3 cup boiling water (170 ml) for soaking (liquid reserved)
500 g dried pasta of choice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
600 g mixed mushrooms (I used an even mix of king oyster, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup dry white wine (250 ml)
2 cups veal stock (500 ml)
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish (25 g)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl with the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes to soften.
2. Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid.
3. Transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board and roughly chop.
4. In a large deep saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, sauté for 1 minute.
5. Add the fresh mushrooms and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the white wine, cook for 3 minutes, until reduced.
6. Add the porcini mushrooms and the reserved soaking liquid, along with the veal stock, bring to a simmer and cook for another 3 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced.
7. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 ml) cooking liquid. Drain and return to pot.
8. Add the mushrooms mixture to the pasta (add a little little of the reserved cooking water, if needed). Add the parmesan and parsley and stir to combine.
9. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with additional parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!