A dish that I have cooked many, many times. As Autumn approaches in Australia, mushrooms become prolific underneath the pine trees. If you are going to pick your own, make sure you know what the hell you are doing. Easier to pop into the F&V shop. Always go mushrooming just as the sun gets up and it hasn’t rained much or at all overnight. The bugs start to go for them about this time and an hour later they are rooted. When Jane lived at Farrel Flat, we used to go to the pine trees adjacent to the township graveyard. Spooky if there was a fog but the mushies were everywhere.
Mushrooms. You can use white mushrooms, swiss browns, portabellos, criminis or a combination. Basically, whatever is in stock at the shop. You can add oyster mushrooms as part of the mix, but don’t use them on their own, it can be a bit bland.
Wine. A dry white wine to me always says a good Sauvignon Blanc. I find that a Chablis or Chardonnay can impart flavours that interfere with the dish. And get a decent one please. Remember, if you wouldn’t serve the plonk to guests, don’t whack it in the dish.
Pasta. If you don’t use fresh, you don’t do any pasta dish any justice. Fettucine is preferable. Fresh pata is widely available nowadays and not that expensive. Of course if you have a Pasta Machine ($20 at Kmart folks) it will be even better. If you have to opt for the dried, get a decent brand, and of course any shape you like. Steer clear of any home brand stuff. It really is crap.
What? No oil? You don’t need oil to cook mushrooms. Despite the fact they seem a “dry” foodstuff, they do in fact contain enough water in them to help with the cooking process. When placed on a heat source, they will “surrender” the moisture as long as you don’t leave the pan and stir quite often, moving them about and making sure they don’t brown. Just make sure the gas/electricity/nuclear power plant isn’t on too high. Start with the heat on medium and see how you go.
Cooking Pasta. Only use boiling water and salt. NEVER put oil into the pan. Once the pasta hits the rolling boil, the outside will cook very quickly, all you need do is stir for the first minute. Oil will not prevent the pasta from sticking to itself. What it WILL do is prevent the sauce from coating your pasta. This is not the desired effect.
Parmesan Cheese. DO NOT use the dried crap from Kraft that comes in a green container. It smells like vomit and the taste is just, well, it’s not worth it. Parmesan cheese is a bit pricey from the cheese section at the supermarket but NOTHING is a substitute.
This dish will serve 4
6 Spring Onions, finely chopped, including as much of the green that is fleshy
1 Tablespoon chopped Marjoram, preferably fresh but dried is OK
150ml dry White Wine, Sauvignon Blanc is excellent
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped, minced or mashed
Sea salt and fresh ground Black Pepper
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated
Chopped Fresh Parsley
Don’t drink all the wine beforehand.
Put a large pan of water on to boil. Add half a teaspoon of salt. Cover and let it do its job.
Peel and de-stalk the mushies if you like and chop them to your liking, taking into consideration the type and shape of pasta you are using.
Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Stir as described above until they are soft and appear cooked. This may take 5-8 minutes. Try not to let them brown. Add the spring onions and stir for 2 minutes. If you are using dried marjoram, add that now. Chuck in the wine. NOW you can pour yourself a glass. Yippee !!!
If your pan of water is boiling its arse of, turn down the heat. Common sense really.
Turn up the heat on the frying pan. Stir the mushrooms until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the cream and garlic. Season with black pepper, the amount is up to you. Stir until the cream is bubbling then turn down the heat very low so that the mixture is barely simmering. If you are using fresh marjoram, add that now.
Whack up the heat again on the water until you have a good rolling boil. Add the pasta and stir for one minute. Fresh pasta will take 2 minutes to cook, dried will take 10.
Stir the sauce every 2 minutes or so for about 10 – 15 minutes.
When both sauce and pasta are done (yes, you’ll have to time this) drain the pasta. Return to the pan and add the sauce, mixing well. Serve in bowls or plates. Place the Parmesan and Parsley in small dishes on the table with extra salt and pepper.
You should have (should have) enough wine left to serve with.