Since we started our food blogging adventure a few months ago and began to more deeply delve into the world of cooking, Marcella Hazan's name has come up more and more frequently. Embarrassingly, we must admit that prior to now we hadn't heard of her. We really got started by way of Mario Batali's recipes, but apparently Marcella is the Julia Child of Italian cooking in America.
|Wait...where's the meat???|
Making the Dish
What You'll Need
3/4 pounds fresh white button mushrooms
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
A cursory look through the recipe and ingredients list left us wondering whether or not this could actually be that good. It's basically just a ton of mushrooms, salt, pepper, butter, and cream, and that's the sauce. That said, the technique that Marcella advises turns these ordinary ingredients into something flavorful and extraordinary.
|Sliced mushrooms, ready to go.|
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil and a half cup of onion, chopped in a medium dice. Cook until the onion is soft and just starting to brown, and then add two cloves of finely chopped garlic. Let it cook until it starts to exude its savory aroma.
|Adding the mushrooms and parsley to the sauté pan.|
After the garlic is cooked, add in the fresh chopped parsley and all of the mushrooms. Give them a stir so they're all coated, and then add salt. As Marcella advises - "do not be shy"! We added about three tablespoons of kosher salt. Stir some more until everything is coated, then, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook it for about 10 minutes and you'll start to see the water come out of the mushrooms. This extra long cooking time really helps to bring out the flavor of the mushrooms.
|Mushrooms have cooked down and are glistening with deliciousness.|
Once the water from the mushrooms has evaporated, add in two tablespoons of butter and a half cup of heavy cream. We had initially thought that this was a take on an alfredo sauce, and to a certain extent it is, but given the amount of mushrooms, this really isn't enough butter or cream to make a real fluid sauce, it's mostly just about coating the mushrooms.
|Butter, cream, mushrooms, and pepper, cooked down.|
|Adding the fettucine to the pan.|
|Tossing to coat.|
We gave this Red Velvet wine by Cupcake a try at the recommendation of our local liquor store. It's a red blend, similar to one of our favorites (Menage a Trois). It's easily drinkable, smooth, not too dry, and delicious. Oh, and it's under $10. If you see it, give it a try.
This dish is deceptively simple. The elongated cooking time on the mushrooms, with the touch of cream and butter, creates a complex, delicious, wonderful flavor. It's really quite impressive. As you've probably noticed, Bryan tends to prefer his pasta sauces with some sort of meat, but with the complexity of flavor that came through with this recipe, he wasn't left wanting for anything else!
Have a delicious vegetarian meal we should try out? Let us know about it in the comments below!
Click through for the ingredients list!