October is Italian Heritage Month and this little jersey tomato is stoked for this very special holiday. Another fellow writer and Italian-American, Raymond Peraino, is back with words, pasta and some gravy or is it sauce? Let the celebration commence!
Words of the day from Ray:
Dating as far back as the first century and later introduced to Italy in the XIII Century by Marco Polo, pasta is now made and enjoyed the world over. Being of Italian descent, I’m here for all things pasta related.
Pappardelle is my personal favorite fresh pasta. The soft, silky ribbons are what dreams are made of. I’m going to let Andrew Rea from Binging with Babish explain to you with his richly colored and calming voice just how easy it is to make fresh pasta should you choose to do so. Check him out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdSLKZ6LN94&t=375s
Ready? Let’s roll! (Pasta jokes!)
Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms
Before getting started:
If you have trouble sourcing any of these mushrooms you can use whatever you can find fresh — button mushrooms, crimini (baby portobello), whatever you like will all work just fine.
If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the making of the fresh pasta and buy another wide fresh or dry pasta like dry pappardelle, fettuccine, mafaldine, tripoline, etc. just be sure to closely follow the cooking time provided for the pasta you purchase.
16 ounces Pasta (500 grams)
12 ounces chanterelle mushrooms (350 grams)
12 ounces king oyster mushrooms (350 grams)
6 ounces Hen of the Woods mushrooms (175 grams)
2 shallots, peeled and sliced (sub 1/2 medium onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter (50 grams)
1/2 cup white wine (or vegetable stock) (120ml)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (15 grams)
1 handful of Italian parsley leaves, picked (reserve some to garnish)
½ cup aged Gruyère cheese (or more to taste) (110 grams) (sub. Aged Gouda)
a good squeeze of lemon juice
high temp oil as needed (grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, avocado, etc.)
kosher salt, as needed
black pepper, as needed
1. Fill a large pot with water, salt it generously and let it come to a vigorous boil while you prep
2. Cut the mushrooms into large chunks. (They’ll shrink when cooking.)
3. Heat a thin coat of oil in a large, wide, flat bottom pan over medium heat. When it begins to simmer, add a single layer of mushrooms cut side down and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Cook until deeply golden, then flip and cook on all sides until tender. This will take a few minutes on each side. Remove to a bowl and continue with the rest of the mushrooms.
4. When all the mushrooms are cooked, add the butter to the empty pan. When melted, add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are tender, then add the thyme, white wine, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let simmer to reduce liquid and intensify the flavors. After a few minutes of simmering fold in the mushrooms. Turn heat to low stirring to make sure there is no scorching until pasta is ready.
5. Once your salted water has come to a rolling boil float the into the water. Give it a gentle stir to keep it from clumping and cook until slightly tender. Heads up, if you’re using fresh pasta, it cooks FAST —about 2-4 minutes depending on noodle thickness.
6. Once pasta is just beginning to become tender, use tongs to transfer the pasta directly into the pan with your mushrooms and sauce. Turn the heat up and gently fold the pasta into the mushroom sauce. Add reserved pasta water to the sauce as needed and toss together so that everything is well incorporated. This should look glossy and amazing by now.
7. Take off the heat and sprinkle in parsley and aged Gruyère.
8. Place the pasta is a family style platter and top with all the sauce or divide into individual bowls and top with an optional drizzle of olive oil, a little black pepper, and some parsley leaves. Serve immediately.
Dai & Ray