December 9, 2011

Mixed mushroom ragu with pasta

Mushrooms are one of those things people either love or hate. When I was a kid, I had more of a hate relationship with mushrooms, but it has definitely shifted to more of a love relationship as an adult. There are so many types of mushrooms available in the grocery store now that you aren't stuck with just the white button variety. I enjoy trying all the different kinds and my husband has started learning wild mushrooms and foraging for chanterelles are other edibles. I gave him a copy of the book Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystic of Mushrooms for Christmas last year. I just started reading this book recently and I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying it. It combines science, ecology, and cooking all in one book - what could be better?

This recipe is inspired by a similar one from Wegmans' magazine. I was seeing a lot of nice mushrooms in the store and thought that a pasta featuring them was in order. You can use any combination of mushrooms you want for this recipe - whatever is available in your store and whatever looks good and fresh. Crimini, shiitake, white button, chanterelle, oyster, etc. - they will all work. I like to use a mixture to have different flavors and textures. The three I chose were based on what was available the day I went shopping. This recipe will serve about six people.

Lastly, today is my two-year anniversary since my first blog post! When I look back at my older posts, I think that I've grown a lot in my writing. I am trying more and more foods and learning so much by cooking and blogging about it. I'm so glad to have all of you other great bloggers and readers out there to share recipes and stories with. I truly love hearing your comments. For the next year I plan to continue to try new foods and to keep cooking to ensure my husband and I are eating real food. Thanks for all the support! 

Mixed mushroom ragu with pasta
olive oil and butter, for cooking
18-20 ounces mixed mushrooms (I used crimini, shiitake, and white button)
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups vegetable (or mushroom) stock
1/2 cup creme fraiche 
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, for serving
1 pound of pasta such as rombi or farfalle

Warm about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a large, deep skillet. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Make sure the dirt is off the mushrooms by using a damp cloth to brush it off. For mushrooms with tough stems, like shittakes, make sure you remove them. Then, thinly slice them. Begin to add the mushrooms to the skillet in batches. Let the mushrooms brown and stir occasionally. Once browned, set them aside on a plate and then cook the next batch until all the mushrooms are browned and softened. Add more butter/olive oil as needed. After all the mushrooms are cooked, add some butter/olive oil and cook the shallots and garlic for about 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and stir well. 

Cook your pasta as soon as the water is boiling until it reaches al dente. Then drain and set aside.

Add the thyme, salt, and a few good grinds of black pepper. Stir well. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Let the wine reduce by about half and then reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken stock and creme fraiche. Stir well and allow to heat through, but not to boil. Once it is heated through, stir in the parsley and turn off the heat. Taste for salt and pepper.

In the meantime, lightly toast the walnuts in a small, dry skillet. Add the pasta to the ragu and toss together until mixed well. Top the pasta with the toasted walnuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, and extra parsley, if desired. Serve immediately. 

What was I cooking one year ago?: pumpkin risotto
Two years ago?: ham, pear, caramelized onion, and brie croissants (birthday sandwich)


  1. I'm currently trying desperately to learn to like mushrooms. I think this pasta needs to be aid me in this endeavor.

  2. I am a total mushroom lover - a mushroom freak some might say! Beautiful looking meal! Thyme is always nice with mushrooms. Congrats on your 2 year blog anniversary.

  3. Feeling very hungry by looking at this, yumm!

  4. A huge congrats to you on your 2nd blog anniversary! I really love mushrooms and this is something I would love to dive head-first into!

  5. Happy 2 year anniversary! I love mushrooms but don't buy them that often for some reason


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