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Cooking Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Fresh mushrooms take a bit of planning for busy cooks because we often find that the lovely white button mushrooms we bought on Saturday morning have turned into unappetizing brown chewy things with dark gills by Friday night. Dried mushrooms, however, are always ready and waiting for us to get around to them (my favorite dried mushrooms are shiitakes).


Fresh mushrooms have a delightful scent and mild flavor; dried ones have depth and earthiness, and a perfume that permeates an entire dish and lingers deliciously on the palate. In this lighter version of a creamy Pasta Alfredo, the woodsy flavor of shiitakes turns a rich side dish into a satisfying entree. Serve with a tartly dressed salad to lighten the meal.

 

Serves 4
 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces dried mushrooms, such as shiitake

  • 1 pound long, thin pasta, such as fettucinne or spaghetti

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 cup light cream

  • Salt and pepper

  • Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a bowl or Pyrex mecsuring cup in the microwave, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and let steep on the counter for 20 minutes.

  2. At the same time, bring a large quantity of salted water fa-the pasta to boil on top of the stove. When the water boils.

  3. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until they're slightly softened.

  4. After the dried mushrooms have steeped, pour the mixture through a strainer lined with a paper towel, reserving the strained liquid into a small bowl or pyrex measuring cup. Pick off and discard the stems, which are woody, and chop the mushrooms.

  5. Add the mushrooms and the strained soaking liquid to the skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced.

  6. Pour in the cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over it, add a generous quantity of Parmesan, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

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