Calling all Mushroom Lovers! This one is for you (of course I had to choose between mushrooms and wild boar-more on that later). I am an official blogger for the Meatless Monday website, as you can see by the cute logo on my sidebar. The Meatless Monday campaign is working with the Mushroom Council and looking for recipes that substitute mushrooms in traditional meat dishes for their ‘Swap it Out’ contest. I have already done a Portobello Mushroom Stuffed with Eggplant and Gorgonzola which was pretty tasty but I wanted to come up with something new. Then I was perusing the pasta aisle and came across a box of Pappardelle, a California product by Community Grains using 100% whole grain hard amber durum. Perhaps I got sucked in by the packaging which states that it is “stone milled on a granite wheel”. That sounds really labor intensive, and almost reminiscent of the Flintstones and their really cool stone age car and gadgets (Yabba Dabba Doo!) so it must be great, right? I also loved the Tip on the package, “Pasta water should taste like the ocean.” I had never heard that before, but now I know what I’m aiming for. So I bought the pappardelle- and it was delicious! The pasta had great texture and the sauce clung to the surface ensuring that every bite was flavorful. It is also nice to know that they mill 100% of the grain, the germ, bran and endosperm all together instead of milling them separately and adding them back together (reconstituted), which is more common. I’m kind of liking the re-emergence of the old tried and true, dare I say Stone Age, methods.
Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta noodles, similar to wide fettuccine (about the width of a finger). The name derives from the verb “pappare”, to gobble up (in Italian). I would say this is an appropriate name, since I found myself doing just that with this yummy dish! Pappardelle is usually topped with heavy sauces that include game like rabbit, duck and wild boar, however, for Meatless Monday, I chose to use the “meaty” mushroom, Portobello, as a stand in for wild boar. I marinated them first, then seared them on high heat to intensify their flavor before adding them to the sauce. I also included dried Porcini mushrooms along with garlic, herbs and shallots to give the sauce an earthy and rich flavor. I threw in a few fresh Criminis for a wonderful mushroom trifecta! I love braised greens and threw in a few handfuls of arugula and spinach, which really help lighten up a heavy sauce. We tend to stay away from creamy sauces in our house, as my husband is not a fan, however, sour cream or plain yogurt can be added to this sauce if you crave rich and creamy.
Of course you have to be a big fan of mushrooms to enjoy this dish, but if you are, lucky you! ‘Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin B, potassium and selenium and the only plant based source of Vitamin D. Low calorie, fat free and gluten free, they have a great nutrient value at little cost. In addition, mushrooms help satisfy our desire for Umami, which is the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Derived from the Japanese word umai, meaning “delicious,” umami (pronounced oo-MAH-mee) is described as a savory, brothy, rich or meaty taste sensation. It’s a satisfying sense of deep, complete flavor, balancing savory flavors and full-bodied taste with distinctive qualities of aroma and mouthfeel. The more umami present in food, the more flavorful it will be. All mushrooms are a rich source of umami and the darker the mushroom the more umami it contains.’ – See more at: http://mushroominfo.com/benefits/#sthash.NbUzgRtx.dpuf
So next time you plan to serve pasta with
Wild Boar meat, try a few mushrooms instead…
Mushroom Pappardelle with Braised Greens
¼ cup dried porcini or mixed mushrooms(about 6 oz)
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
3 fresh sage leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 shallots or 1 small onion, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt(depending on the saltiness of the broth) 1/4 tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
½ cup dry white wine 2 cups fresh spinach, arugula or other dark leafy greens
8 oz. fresh or dried pappardelle (about 3/4 box)
½ cup grated parmesan(optional)
- Marinate the sliced, fresh mushrooms in 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, pinch of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (a zip lock baggie works great) and let rest. The marinade should coat all pieces but they shouldn’t be swimming in liquid.
- Pour 1 cup boiling water over dried mushrooms and let sit until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and strain mushroom liquid to remove any sediment. Reserve liquid.
- In a food processor (or by hand) finely dice parsley, sage, garlic and shallots in a food processor until smooth; set aside. Finely dice reconstituted mushrooms.
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet(preferably cast iron) on medium high heat. Sear/brown fresh mushrooms one layer at a time and turn to brown the other side. Remove and set aside.
- Saute vegetable purée in about 2 Tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 -6 minutes. Stir in diced mushrooms.
- Add wine, broth and mushroom liquid and cook, until almost completely reduced, about 10- 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain pasta; add to sauce
- Stir in greens and let wilt.
- Add seared mushrooms and half the parmesan ( if using) and toss to combine.
- Transfer pasta to a serving dish; garnish with finely chopped parsley and remaining parmesan.