Mushrooms are a somewhat nostalgic flavor and memory-inducing thing for me. Growing up, we ate almost every dinner at home, and usually as a family, simple and without pretense. It didn't ever really feel like it was about the food, but we loved what my mom would make for us. In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times my family ate out at a restaurant together. For our family, dinner time was a time for sitting around our dining room or kitchen table together and sharing, and above all else, laughing. Nothing sounds so foreign to me as when I hear or read about families struggling to communicate with each other, or parents struggling to pull information out of their kids. My parents, in whatever way they knew how, raised us in a way where dialogue was constant and open and entirely second-nature. I can never remember a silent car ride, a silent dinner table, or a silent anything, really. Whether we were making my mom so mad she was screaming and swearing until she could do nothing but laugh, or we were all reminiscing about something in our day, or one of us was undoubtedly being ripped on, our house was full of the humming of life, constantly. While some (whom we've befriended or dated or have otherwise been exposed to our family in the raw) might say we are all too quick to jump to humor as a means of communicating, relating, and empathizing, I am in constant awe of what it has done for each of us as people and as a family. I'll be forever grateful for it, and I'll value it always in my own family that I someday raise.
Mushrooms were something my mom would sometimes cook for dinner, sautéed with butter. And I'm sure it felt like nothing special at the time, although it was one of my favorite foods. For what feels like forever, the smell of mushrooms sautéing on the stove has been one of savory, earthy comfort for me, and one that is seriously hard to beat. And although each of our palettes and experiences have obviously grown substantially as the years have gone by and we've all gotten older, mushrooms are still such a favorite of mine in almost any dish.
Here I'm sautéing them with garlic, wine, oregano, and cream and serving it over egg pappardelle noodles with Parmesan and lemon zest. It's warming, comforting, and filling, while feeling seriously decadent. AKA... Valentine's Day dinner at home on the couch? Do itttttt.
Pappardelle with mild mushroom cream
Yields 2 large servings
About 4-5 oz dried egg pappardelle noodles
A little pasta water, reserved for later
2 T butter
12 oz mixed wild mushrooms, roughly chopped/torn (I used half cremini mushrooms, plus some oyster and shiitake mushrooms)
½ tsp salt, divided
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy cream
About 1 tsp minced fresh oregano
About ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Chopped parsley for serving
Lemon zest for serving
Bring water to a boil and cook egg pappardelle according to package directions. The sauce doesn't take too long to make (maybe 15-20 minutes total), and it takes a little while to bring your pasta water to a boil, so I found that beginning everything at the same time worked fine.
Begin making the sauce by adding butter to a large sauté pan and heat over medium low heat. When butter is melted and foamy, add mushrooms, ¼ tsp salt, and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes more. Pour in wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Let the wine cook off for a couple of minutes. Add oregano, heavy cream, another ¼ tsp salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and stir cream as it begins to slowly boil. Add cooked pappardelle to sauce pan, along with a small ladle of the pasta water, and toss and fold to combine. If the sauce needs to be thinned out further, add more pasta water as needed. Sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese, tossing again to incorporate. Use tongs to plate, and top with fresh parsley, more grated Parmesan, and a light dusting of lemon zest.