An easy vegetarian pasta dish.. adapted somewhat from Epicurious. I like it because of the no-fuss, readily available ingredients and the fact that you can make it in advance and simply heat up when hunger strikes. Substitutions are aplenty in this dish - chicken or veg stock or even plain water will do, mushrooms of any kind work well (dried portobello, chestnuts, chanterelles), cream/ mascarpone or even a dash of milk will help lighten it up. —mad_mimosa
dried shiitake mushrooms
fresh mushrooms (I used the regular button mushroom variety, cut into quarters)
onions, sliced lengthwise
cloves garlic, chopped
stock (chicken/ veg) or just plain water
mascarpone cheese or heavy cream
grated cheese (cheddar, parmesan or anything else you like)
Place the dried shiitake in a shallow bowl and steep in hot water, about 30 minutes. Remove and slice the mushroom heads. Discard the stems which are too tough to be edible. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine mesh and reserve for later.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the rosemary sprigs and coarse salt into fine crumbs.
In a hot pan, pour in the olive oil and add the onions, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes, then toss in the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms.
Add the rosemary salt, dried herbs, chili flakes, freshly ground pepper and some regular salt. Stir on medium heat for a couple more minutes
Tip in the mushroom soaking water and the 2 cups of stock/ water. Let the whole thing come to a boil, turn down the heat and let it reduce. Be patient – this will take a while.
In about 20-25 mins – the mushrooms would have released all their goodness into the liquid, the stock will be thick and luscious, just waiting to coat the fusili with open arms. (Note: if you can’t watch in peace, boil some water and cook the past till al dente in the meanwhile.)
Once the intense mushroom glaze is done (remember the name?) – stir in the mascarpone/ cream and the cheese. Mix well and add the pasta.
Toss around till everything coats everything. Check for seasoning and adjust if required.
Serve generous helpings into big bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sit down to eat. If you’re the garnish type – adorn with chopped parsley/ basil, a teaspoon of cream or simply more grated cheese.