Magic Mushrooms with Egg Noodles and Ricotta

July 19, 2018

Author Notes: No, not those kind of magic mushrooms. But these will leave you feeling just as blissful! The magic is in their scalability and in the many ways you can use them: These are good by themselves, or with meatloaf, or in quesadillas or tacos, or as a topper for ricotta toast, or--my favorite, and the one pictured here--tossed with egg noodles, some pasta water, a few dollops of fresh ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of marjoram.

I borrowed the pickle-brine deglazing technique from Stuart Brioza's "Mushrooms with Pickle-Brine Butter" (I use the brine from a jar of untamed pickled jalapenos here) and wedded it to a vinaigrette adapted from Giada DeLaurentis. The intensely smoky, tomato-y finish it provides makes the mushrooms a delightful foil for the creamy ricotta and pillowy egg noodles. Hit it with some microplaned garlic and chopped fresh marjoram to take the dish completely over the top.

Notes: For the mushroom component of the dish, I've listed the ingredients per 1 lb of mushrooms. This yields somewhere between a half and one pint of cooked mushrooms. Scale the recipe to suit your needs. I didn't list specific amounts for the egg noodles or ricotta--use as much as you need for how many people you are feeding. Re: smoked honey: I discovered this on a trip to Charleston, S.C. a few years back, via the Holy Smoke Smoked Olive Oil company: https://www.holysmokeoliveoil.com/#holysmokeoliveoil
If you can't find any or don't want to special-order it, just use regular honey. But it's really good and worth seeking out!
Chris Hagan

Makes: a pint or more of mushrooms, depending how many pounds you start with, and about 1 1/2 pints vinaigrette
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

For the Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 1 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their juice, or 1 lb small fresh tomatoes, such as cherry, blistered in a dry, hot pan
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed (from the typical 3/4-1 oz package found in most grocery stores)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey, preferably smoked if you can find it (see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • pepper to taste

For the mushrooms and finished pasta dish (quantities per 1 lb of mushrooms):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for the pasta
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (or halved if very small)
  • 1 pinch chipotle pepper flakes or powder (I just buzz a few dried chipotles in a spice grinder and store in a jar so I always have some on hand)
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno pepper brine
  • 1/4 cup smoky tomato vinaigrette
  • 1 small or half a larger garlic clove, peeled
  • a big pinch of chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
  • egg noodles
  • fresh ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Make the smoky tomato vinaigrette: If using canned tomatoes, just whiz all the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. If using fresh tomatoes, blister them all over in a hot, dry pan, then continue as above, but take the extra step of putting the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to remove skins and seeds. Taste and adjust for seasoning, then set aside until ready to use. You'll have quite a bit leftover--use it as Giada does, to dress a bowl of orzo, with lots of fresh grated parmigiano and some more basil.
  2. Make the mushrooms: For each pound of mushrooms, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat in a large skillet. When butter smells nutty and has begun to brown, add shallot and cook until it begins to brown as well, about a minute. Be mindful it doesn't burn. Add a pinch of chipotle flakes and saute another 30 seconds or so, until fragrant, then add mushrooms and toss to coat in fat and aromatics. Saute mushrooms until they have given up their liquid and are golden-brown. Deglaze with pickled jalapeno brine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits and delighting in the heady aroma now enveloping your nostrils. When the brine has mostly evaporated, hit the mushrooms with a couple spoonfuls (2-4 tbsp) of the tomato vinaigrette. Stir to coat, and cook until the vinaigrette caramelizes a little and the mushrooms take on a glazed appearance. Dump the mushrooms in a bowl and microplane the garlic over the top. Hit it with a pinch of chopped fresh marjoram and toss a few times. Set aside until ready to use, or wipe out the skillet and repeat the process for each additional pound of mushrooms.
  3. Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt it well. Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta cooking water for finishing the dish. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and melt some butter. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Add the mushrooms, the ricotta, a little of the pasta cooking water, and another pat of butter if you please. (I please.) Toss. Finish with a smattering of chopped fresh marjoram or oregano and perhaps a sprinkle of paprika or Aleppo pepper, and serve.

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