Winter is coming to a close, but it’s not quite over yet, and it’s been a strange journey of very cold and warm temperature swings. It’s been very gray here in Baltimore for the past week, although it feels like it’s been gray for the past few months. I’ve been trying to stave off the darkness with rich, warm food, which seems to be helping!
With spring just around the corner but also just out of reach, I’ve been savoring late winter foods. Rye, sunchokes, greens, sprouts, mushrooms, oysters, and onions and garlic of all varieties have been my solace! A good meal sure can brighten my day.
Recently, Jake and I made this mushroom pasta dish to celebrate the rich, subtle umami and sweetness of winter offerings. Jake made a wide, hand-cut rye and semolina pasta, but I won’t claim here to know how he did it. As a pasta base here, use a wide noodle like tagliatelle or pappardelle. From there, you’ll build a savory base of alliums, bright acidity, and deep umami. Don’t let the long ingredient list stop you – while each builds umami in a subtle way, this dish is forgiving and won’t be any less delicious if you’re missing a few ingredients. But altogether, they are magical!
Winter Mushroom Pappardelle
- 1 pasta
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms (could include button mushrooms, shitake, porcini, etc.)
- 1 yellow onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry, high-acid hard cider (sub 1 lemon’s juice)
- 1 tin anchovies
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 large black garlic clove
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Black pepper
- 2 oz mild blue cheese
- Boil a large pot of water for the pasta, add 1 tsp salt.
- Prep: rinse the mushrooms and pat or shake dry. Slice the mushrooms. Peel and dice the onion. Peel the garlic and mince. Mince the black garlic. Roughly chop the parsley.
- Add some olive oil to a large skillet. Saute the mushrooms and onions over medium heat until they are starting to lose their water. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the cider, anchovies (drained of any water or oil), Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, minced black garlic, thyme, nutmeg, and capers. Stir together, making sure to break up the anchovies into small pieces. Allow the cider to start to boil off.
- Once the sauce is well incorporated, add the cream and lower the heat to medium-low. Taste for salt, adding more soy sauce if necessary. Keep the sauce warm, stirring occasionally, but do not let it return to a boil.
- Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. When it is cooked and drained, assemble plates.
- Over about a cup of pasta per plate, add the mushroom sauce. Garnish with the parsley and 1/2 oz blue cheese per serving. Crumble the blue cheese over the pasta. Time to eat!