Readers, This dish started out as "Wild Mushroom Polenta". With inspiration from a class taught by Chef Alec at The Club at Flying Horse, and help from bonus daughter D, we set out to recreate the wonderful dish prepared in class. The mushroom ragout is absolutely wonderful. The texture and flavor will send you to (food) heaven.
Our polenta didn't turn out as planned. It sort of seized up. It didn't have the lovely creamy texture I had tasted in class. I was mortified! And horrified! I wanted to cry! But, we ate it anyway after a little first aid. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the best it could be. The next day, I decided to rescue the mushroom ragout, and paired it with hot cooked linguine. The result? Pasta perfection on a plate.
Lets make this beautiful pasta dish. Here's what you need:
1 pound linguine, , cooked al dente (firm to the bite), Extra light and extra virgin olive oil, 4 Cups mixed wild mushrooms, 1 shallot finely minced, 2 garlic cloves finely minced, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup veal demi-glace, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesano/Reggiano cheese, shredded, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, drizzle white truffle oil.
Let's get cooking.
Prep the mushrooms. "experts" will tell you to wipe them off with a damp towel, because they'll get waterlogged if you wash them, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but mushrooms are grown in fertilizer (aka: sh_t), and are full of dirt. Keep the stems in. Give them a good rinse in cold water, dry them off, then put them on a towel lined sheet tray, and put them, uncovered, in the fridge, until dry. Shitakes have really tough stems. Remove them before you chop up the heads, and AFTER you wash them.
What I have here is a combination of Oyster, Shitake, Chantrelle, Cremini, and some type of Japanese shroom. I found a pre-pack of wild mushrooms at Whole Foods, then grabbed a few Shitakes and Creminis from the bulk bin for the mix. If you can't find, or don't want to shell out the cash, use a combination of Creminis and Shitakes. They'll be delicious.
Chop them up.
Start with a large cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, run right out to Sam's or a hardware store and get one right now. Get one that's pre-seasoned.
Then, pre-heat it until it's smokin' hot. Really hot. That means there's smoke coming off of the pan, with NOTHING in it. (Turn on the fans and open the windows). Then add a couple drizzles of extra LIGHT (NOT VIRGIN) olive oil around the pan. Gotta have oil with a high smoking point.
Throw the mushrooms into the super hot oil. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Mushrooms are full of water, so don't crowd the pan. They will steam, not caramelize. WE WANT CARMELIZATION! Brown food tastes good! If you have to make 2 batches; do so. NO STEAMING ALLOWED!
Add the cream. Stir. Reduce by 3/4.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Put a serving of linguine on a plate. And top it with your beautiful mushroom ragout. You could eat this right now, and it would be delicious. DON'T!
It doesn't get much better than this.
1 pound linguine , cooked al dente (firm to the bite)
Extra light olive oil, for sauteing ( a few swirls around the pan).
Extra virgin olive oil, for finishing pasta
4 Cups fresh mixed wild mushrooms
*If you only have dried wild mushrooms, rehydrate with some boiling pasta water. After rehydrated, strain through a coffee filter lined fine colander. Save the broth. Filter again through a coffee filter, paper towel, or cheese cloth. Pour the mushroom broth into the pasta, after adding the veal demi glace.*
1 shallot finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup veal demi-glace (This is available in the freezer section at Whole Foods. If you can't find it, ask the butcher/deli/fish guy where to find it. If you can't obtain it, add some homemade beef stock. Or, add some beef broth in a box. Or, make up some broth with "Better than broth" paste and water. Taste before adding to make sure it's not too salty).
1 tsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Parmesano/Reggiano cheese, shredded,
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
drizzle white truffle oil.
- Prep the mushrooms. Keep the stems in. Give them a good rinse in cold water, dry them off, then put them on a towel lined sheet tray, and put them, uncovered, in the fridge, until dry. Chop when dry. Do not use Shitake stems.
- Pre-heat the cast iron skillet until it's smokin' hot.
- Throw the mushrooms into the super hot oil. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- When beautifully brown all over, take the pan off the burner, and let it cool down a bit. Turn the heat down to medium, then put the pan back on the medium burner, and add the shallots. (If the pan is dry, swirl in some more olive oil). Give them a sprinkle of Kosher salt.
- Cook for 2 minutes, add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pan with1/2 cup white wine.
- With a wooden spoon, scrape off all of the brown bits of goodness stuck to the pan. Reduce by 2/3.
- Add the cream. Stir. Reduce by 3/4.
- Add the Demi Glace and reduce the heat to low. Stir it up.
- Add about 1 tsp butter. When the butter melts, throw in the chopped herbs.
- Stir in the 1/4 cup cheese.
- Taste for seasoning. Re-season as necessary.
- Put hot, drained linguine in a big serving bowl.
- Add a good drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil, season it up with salt and pepper.
- Put a serving of linguine on a plate. Top it with mushroom ragout.
- Garnish it with a sprinkle of Parmesano/Reggiano cheese.Add some fresh parsley.
- Drizzle on some white truffle oil.