Pasta with Dried Mushrooms & Asparagus

Another make-it-up-on-the-spot dinner.  I have the ingredients…just can’t find a recipe that uses them all!

I have some fresh asparagus, dried mushrooms, a shallot and dried pappardelle.

I’ve made a portobello mushroom creamy pasta, so I’m using that recipe as a guide.

Soak the dried mushrooms and save that mushroom water.  Blanch the asparagus then cut stalks into smaller pieces. 

Saute the re-hydrated mushrooms in butter and oil.  After a bit, add the sliced shallot.  Saute a few more minutes and then add a cup of beef broth and the mushroom water, about a cup of that, so two cups of liquid total.  Then add a small amount of sherry, salt, pepper and thyme — building flavor.  Let this simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus pieces and let them cook till tender — a couple of minutes more. 

I’m adding a little milk and 1/2 & 1/2 to give the sauce very little creaminess. 

Boil the pasta until it is not quite done.  Strain and add to the pan of mushroom sauce to cook it till it’s tender.

From pantry to table - just under a half an hour.  Thinking on my feet tonight!

Seconds tasted even better — the pasta absorbed more of the sauce, delicious.

Dinner: Wednesday November 16, 2011

It’s been rainy all day.  I want a comfort meal.  It has to be warm, earthy, easy and fast.

I have a recipe for portabella mushroom and sherry pasta from an older Fine Cooking Magazine.  But because I have less than the full weight of mushrooms the recipe calls for, I’ll supplement with dried mushrooms. 


Recipe calls for butter and olive oil.  Add the chopped mushrooms (fresh ones), salt and pepper and sauté till well browned and beginning to loose juices. 

Then you toss in shallot (onion for me tonight), garlic and fresh sage leaves (none of these tonight).  It seems counterintuitive not beginning with the onions.  

Add the sherry.  The first time I made this, I put in the full 1 ½ cups.  Never again. Instead, I use 1+ cup of beef broth with a bit of sherry or even brandy.   Tonight, I’ll combine the mushroom soaking water and beef broth.  This is when I’ll add the dried mushrooms.  It cooks down by half, about 8 minutes.


Pasta is cooking.

Recipe calls for 1 cup heavy cream.  Tonight, I’m using ½ & ½ instead.  Not as rich and doesn’t coat the pasta the same way, but still tasty.  Reduce though it doesn’t  thicken the way cream does.  


Add pasta to the pan and add the cheese – about ¼ cup Parmesan.


Done.   Waiting for MS to get home.  

 I ate without him.

Siting in the pan, the pasta absorbed the sauce.  Great flavor.

Finally he’s home.  Late.  The pasta may not be hot, but it is delicious.  And he has enough for lunch.