The distinct taste of wild mushrooms, both porcini and shiitake, lends an earthiness to all kinds of sauces. In this dish I use linguine, and the tender noodles wrap their arms around the mushrooms, sweet leeks, green peas, and sharp cheese. I often serve Pear-Cucumber Salad with Balsamic & Shaved Romano Cheese on the side.
Yield: Serves 4
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup hot water
1 pound linguine
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 leeks (white part only), washed well and chopped
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
One 4-ounce chunk aged Asiago or Romano cheese
1. Soak the porcini mushrooms in the hot water for 15 minutes, then strain through a paper towel-lined sieve, reserving the soaking liquid. Set the mushrooms and soaking liquid aside.
2. Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the drained porcinis and the shiitakes and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sage and stir to coat. Add the peas, broth, and reserved porcini soaking liquid, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the linguine and toss to combine.
4. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm serving platter and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the top right before serving.
Make it a meal kit: Cook and drain the pasta. Then transfer to a plastic bag. Soak the mushrooms as directed and store the mushrooms (in the soaking liquid) in a sealable container. Both will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. When ready to finish the meal, make the mushroom sauce as directed, then stir in the cooked pasta and cook until reheated. Finish as directed.