Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fungi-Fanatic!

If you are not aware, I am crazy about mushrooms! I love their earthy flavor, tender flesh, and down right adorable appearance! I eagerly make any recipe with mushrooms as the star ingredient! I am such a fungi-fanatic that my kitchen is nicknamed "Mushroom's Cafe!" I am aware that there are a lot of people who claim they don't like mushrooms; however, I have changed a lot of minds by serving them Beef Bourguignon

Another absolutely stellar recipe featuring mushrooms, comes from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, by Patrick O'Connell. (If you missed my previous post regarding this magical place, please refer to Dreaming in Dalmation.) This recipe for "Fettuccine with Morel Mushrooms and Country Ham" exemplifies the rich indulgences offered at The Inn at Little Washington. Unfortunately, morel mushrooms are not available now, so I used Shiitake (stems discarded), but any fresh wild mushrooms will produce excellent results! One more thing, NEVER wash your mushrooms! Clean them with a soft brush or gently wipe them off with paper towels.


Fettuccine with Morel Mushrooms and Country Ham

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt
9 ounces fresh fettuccine (or 5 ounces dried)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh morel mushrooms (or another wild variety)
1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (I used white pepper)
1 cup very thin slices well-trimmed country ham, cut into ribbons the same width as the fettuccine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (Don't skip the chives, they are essential!)

Directions:

Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add the 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook the fettuccine until just barely al dente. Drain in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Keep warm.

In a 10" saute pan, melt the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add the morels just as the butter begins to color. Saute rapidly until the mushrooms begin to crisp around the edges. Add the shallot and garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Reduce the heat and add half of the sauteed mushrooms/shallot/garlic mixture. Reserve the other half for garnish. Cook until the cream thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add the fettuccine to the sauce and toss well to combine.

To serve: Using tongs, place a mound of fettuccine in each of four warm serving bowls and pour a bit of the remaining sauce over the noodles. Place the reserved mushrooms on top of the fettuccine and divide the ham evenly among the bowls. Garnish with the chives. You'll love it!

Recipe adapted from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook, by Patrick O'Connell.

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