Monday, February 15, 2010

Quest for Food

Talk about a classic story line. A hapless nobody is innocently minding her own business, stumbles over something in her path, picks it up and ends up on a crazy quest to solve a mystery, usually experiencing some kind of personal transformation in the process. It's kind of like that when I have a great dish in a restaurant and want to recreate it at home. I just can't rest until I get it right, and I'll start checking cookbooks, googling recipes, asking friends.

For awhile now I've been working to perfect a mushroom ragu like the one I used to have at a little Italian café on NE Broadway called Paparazzi. The café is long gone and the owners have since moved on to other projects, but I can't seem to get that ragu out of my head.

A year or so ago I thought I had it, but then forgot to write down the recipe and had to start over. Recently I had a pound or so of mixed mushrooms from Springwater Farm and, instead of making a richer, heavier ragu, I decided to try a white wine version and combine it with pappardelle noodles.

What I ended up with was a light and delicious dish that will sing with the spring vegetables coming into the markets. I'm waiting for the personal transformation part to kick in, but at least it'll tide me over until I get that ragu recipe nailed down.

Wild Mushrooms with Pasta and White Wine Sauce

8 oz. dried pappardelle pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb. mushrooms, preferably a mix of kinds, sliced or chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or tarragon
1 1/2 tsp. dried aleppo peppers or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. grated parmesan

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.

Heat olive oil in skillet and add garlic. Sauté briefly, making sure it doesn't brown. Quickly add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to wilt. Add dried herbs and peppers and sauté briefly, then add white wine, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Add pasta to pot of boiling water, cook till al dente and drain. Put in serving bowl and top with mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with a little parmesan, reserving the rest of the cheese for sprinkling at the table.


Zupan's Markets said...

Wow this looks so delicious. We love mushrooms and definitely want to try this out soon!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Let me know what you think (and any delicious changes you make)!