Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 30, 2010

Linguine al Funghi

Here’s a dish I love on New Year’s Day. Linguine al Funghi is a sophisticated counterpoint to the slow-cooking wonders of Hoppin’ John. What’s not to love about a quick, simple and eminently edible Linguine al Funghi while you’re recovering from the excesses of the night before?

Linguine al Funghi, pasta with mushroom sauce,  uses up any leftover sparkling wine you might have on hand, even if the fizz is all gone out of it and it’s succumbed to the slightly banal sweetness customary to that class of beverages. If you have some mushrooms, long-goods (pasta with more length than shape) and one fresh herb–thyme, dill and chives are all excellent choices, you’re in business. This dish is easy on the stomach. This pasta takes only a few minutes to prepare. This Linguine al Funghi nurtures without challenging–and the stale sparkling wine may even constitute enough of the hair of the dog that the rest of the day is easier on the constitution and morale alike.

Check your pantry before your last run to the grocery ahead of the jollities. The shopping list is short, even if your cupboard is bare. The expenses are minimal. The rewards will exceed your expectations.

Linguine al Funghi

3 TBSP olive oil, or oil and butter mixed (if you happen to have hazelnut oil, this would be a great place to use it)

2 medium shallots, or 1 large, or 3 small–or 3 cloves of garlic in a pinch, minced

8-12 oz mushrooms (white button are fine, cremini are better, shiitake are better than that and chantarelle will wow you and any diners you may invite), brushed or quickly rinsed and patted dry to remove any dirt, stems trimmed of woody ends

1 tsp salt

1/6-1/4 bottle of sparkling white or rosé wine (asti, cava, champagne, prosecco), drier is better but use what you may have

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or grains of paradise–if you have some around

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp minced thyme, or flat leaf parsley or snipped dill or snipped chives (you can use more if you have the flat leaf parsley or the chives)

2 oz grated hard Italian cheese (optional)

1 box of linguine, or other long goods

Heat your oil or oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed, non-reactive (’cause if it isn’t, it’ll turn your mushrooms a purply black) frying pan over medium low heat. When your fat is hot, add the shallots. Chop your mushrooms coarsely, trimming away only the bottoms of the stems. Add these to the pan when the shallots are somewhat translucent. Sprinkle the salt over the mushrooms and stir them around–the salt causes the mushrooms to release their water and concentrates their flavor beautifully.

Get four to six quarts of water boiling for your pasta. When the water from the mushrooms has largely evaporated, add the leftover sparkling wine. Scrape and stir the bottom of the pan vigorously to release the fond. Let this bubble well down to a few tablespoons. Now add the stock and let it cook down to about 1/2 a cup.

Finish with the remaining seasonings. Turn off the heat and stir in the drained al dente linguine. Serve with the grated cheese or a little more of the fresh herbs sprinkled on top. Linguine al Funghi does the trick every time.

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