I’ve shared disasters with you. Things overcooked, things I’ve done wrong with a smile and “Oh so sorry, I messed up on this one”. I’ve never shared a recipe before that was executed perfectly and yet left something to be desired. For those less than perfect dishes, the attitude has always been “Let me work on it – perfect it – let me get it right and then share”. Here’s a thought – why do that? Oh sure, we want to share our taste tested, this is a winner recipes. But why not share one or two that are less than perfect? Why not let you see a glimpse of the evolution process? Who knows – maybe someone out there has the key to take an okay recipe and elevate it to the mountain tops! So here goes . . .
I don’t know about you, but I adore mushrooms. Mushrooms in a salad, stuffed mushrooms, in soups and sauces and on a grilled cheese sandwich such as Over the Top Gourmet Mushroom, Tomato and Grilled Cheese Sandwich. They are a great source of vitamin D – something we Americans don’t get enough of, always locked away in our little cubicle worlds under artificial light day after day. Here was a pasta dish that had all the right ingredients – lots of mushrooms in a cream sauce. It should have been awesome.
I wish I could sing the praises of this dish. There are no notes as to its original origins. Reading through the recipe, it seemed fine. Having never cooked it before, I stuck to the recipe as is – wanting to sample the finished dish before rendering a decision. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms were wonderful. Yet the sauce itself lacked depth. I’ll let you be the judge.
Here are my thoughts – fresh baby spinach and basil leaves added at the end, with a quick stir just until the torn leaves have wilted a little. Perhaps a handful roasted cherry tomatoes for color and a little acidity. Artichokes? Asparagus? I cannot put my finger on what is missing . . .
In any case, for me it’s back to the drawing board with this once. If you’d like to play around – be my guest . . .
Butterfly Pasta with Sautéed Mushrooms
4 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Red onion, chopped fine
1 lb Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 lb Cremini Mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼-inch thick
Salt & Pepper
5 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 ½ Teaspoons Fresh Thyme, minced
2 Cups Chicken broth
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
4 ½ Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 ½ lbs Farfalle (Bow-tie) Pasta
1 ½ Cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
Parsley for garnish
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a full boil. Maintain boil until ready to use.
Chop onion, mushrooms and garlic. Set aside until ready to use.
Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in Shiitakes, Cremini and ½ teaspoon salt, cover and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mushrooms are dry and browned, about 8 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook stirring often, until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot.
Stir in garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and cover to keep warm.
To the now-empty skillet, add broth and cream. Bring to a simmer, scraping up browned bits. Off heat, stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Return mushrooms to cream sauce. Add Parmesan and stir until Parmesan has incorporated to the mushroom-cream sauce.
Return pan to low heat. Add pasta, toss to coat and combine. Heat gently until everything is bubbly and warm. Garnish with parsley and serve.