Ok, I have a confession – mushrooms…freak me out.
I hate touching them. They’ve got a weird texture and those giant Portobello mushrooms caps also have those really dark brown gills that you scrape out (a task I usually delegate to my husband).
Then you get to those really crazy looking ones too – like cloud ear, oyster, morels and trumpets and I just get the willies.
That being said – I love the way mushrooms taste. They really give any dish an appealing earthiness and are a wonderful way to add savory umami flavor.
I use mushrooms in a lot of dishes but often default to pre-sliced baby bellas because 1) I don’t have to touch them and 2) they’re relatively cheap and more flavorful than the traditional white buttons.
To get over the ickiness factor I decided to actually gird up and *shudder* use different varieties of mushrooms. My goals included forcing myself to handle them and hopefully realizing they weren’t so bad as well as having the bonus of being able to taste all of the different complexities each mushroom variety offers.
In my mind mushrooms and creamy sauces are a match made in heaven so I made a simple sauce to top some whole wheat fettuccine. Next time I make this I’d love to add in a diced roma tomato or two with the mushrooms and continue with the recipe as a fun twist.
Overall it was mission accomplished. By using four types of mushrooms (I went with baby bellas, shiitakes, oysters and trumpets) I really got to experiment and I think it enhanced the dish’s flavor. The only negative? Touching mushrooms still kind of weirds me out.
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms – try to use a mix: shiitakes, oysters, trumpets, etc or for a lower priced option just use baby bellas
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- ¼ cup marsala or brandy
- 1 cup stock – chicken or vegetable
- ¾ cup nonfat sour cream
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ - 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 8 oz fettuccine
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
- Boil water for pasta.
- Trim the ends of mushrooms, wipe off any dirt and slice.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and shallots until tender but not browned. Increase the heat to medium high, add mushrooms and cook for 3 – 5 until mushrooms have softened and begun to release their liquid. Stir in the marsala and boil until reduced by half, about 2 more minutes.
- In a small bowl mix together stock and cornstarch, whisking well to combine. Pour stock, sour cream, half of parsley and all seasoning (basil through salt and pepper) and simmer until the sauce has thickened about 10 – 14 minutes. Taste and adjust any seasonings adding additional seasonings as necessary (Italian, salt, pepper, etc.)
- While sauce is thickening, cook fettuccine 1 minute before al dente. Drain pasta (do not rinse) and stir into the sauce, tossing to make sure the pasta it coated and cook for another minute or so to let the flavors combine.
- Garnish with Parmesan and parsley and serve.