Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Portobella and Porcini Cream Sauce

Mushrooms and cream are a classic match. Combine them with handmade pasta and you have an instant comfort dish. As the winter blues settle over the MidWest, I find myself indulging in rich, creamy, carby dishes. This sauce is fabulous paired with anything from pasta or rice to chicken or beef.

Portobella and Porcini Cream Sauce
by Woo

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 large portobella mushrooms, gills removed, diced
8-10 ounces mixed mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, crimini) cleaned, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup cognac or dry sherry
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 packet of The Spice House Essence de Champignon Gold (Mushroom Stock Base)
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons The Spice House Powdered Porcini "Extra AA"  Dried Mushrooms
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly cracked pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or chopped fresh chives (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until lightly golden brown and caramelized. 

In the meantime, using the side of a spoon, remove the gills from the underside of the large portobella mushrooms and dice Add to the large skillet along with the rest of the mixed mushrooms. (Lightly salt and pepper for now and adjust seasoning later after the mushroom stock is fully incorporated into the sauce.) Allow to cook, uncovered and undisturbed, until the mushrooms are cooked down and they are a nice golden brown color. Add the minced garlic and saute for one or two minutes. 

Remove from the heat and quickly deglaze the pan with the cognac, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return to heat. Add the wine, thyme, bay leaf, half packet of The Spice House Essence de Chamignon Gold and 1/4 cup of water (or as needed). Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of porcini mushroom powder and stir to incorporate and remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer and allow mixture to thicken. Swirl in heavy cream, add freshly cracked pepper, and bring to simmer. 

If dressing fresh cooked pasta with this sauce, allow the sauce to remain loose or thin and toss the al dente pasta in the warm sauce. If sauce is too thick, add a splash of the pasta cooking water (remember this water is salted, so use it judiciously). Allow the sauce and pasta to finish cooking together for a minute or two. 

**Do not over cook. Sauce will thicken upon standing.
** Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or chives. Pass the freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

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