Campanelle with two mushrooms and rosemary

February 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm (B_minus, Italian, Jack Bishop, Starches, Vegetable dishes)


I asked Derek what he wanted for dinner, and he very quickly replied “mushrooms”.  Perhaps his decision was influenced by the very tasty mushroom soup I made last week.  I got out the cookbooks and started looking for mushroom recipe.  I found a bulgur mushroom pilaf that I plan on trying, and a pasta dish in Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, which I’d made once before.  Based on the note in the cookbook I hadn’t been that excited about it, but I wasn’t sure how carefully I had followed the recipe, and I decided to try it again.  Below is the recipe, with my modifications and my version of the instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms
  • 3/4 pound campanelle, orecchiette, or small shells
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about .8 ounces)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.
  2. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water.  Soak until softened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Chop the onion, garlic, and rosemary.  Start cooking the onion.  In a large saute pan heat the butter and oil.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute more.
  4. While the onion cooks, thinly slice the mushrooms.  When the garlic is done cooking, add the mushrooms to the saute pan.  Saute until golden brown and the liquid they give off has evaporated, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the pasta.  Cook until al dente and then drain.
  6. While the pasta cooks, prepare the porcinis.  Carefully lift the mushrooms from the liquid.  Wash them if they feel gritty.  Chop them.  Add the choped porcini mushrooms to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to release their flavor.  Strain the soaking liquid through a sieve into the pan, and bring to a boil.  Cover and remove from the heat.
  7. When the pasta is done, add it to the mushrooms along with the cheese and parsley.  Toss over medium-low heat just until the cheese melts and the pasta absorbs the liquid in the pan.  Serve immediately.

My notes

Based on the post it note comment I had stuck in the cookbook, I upped the garlic from 2 medium cloves to 2 large cloves, and increased the rosemary from 1 tsp. to 1.5 tsp.  The recipe recommends orecchiette, but I didn’t have any so used campanelle instead.  Also, the original recipe calls for 1 pound of pasta, but we always find that the pasta to sauce ratio in Bishop’s recipes is too high, so I reduced the pasta to 3/4 pound.

The recipe worked fine.  All the instructions seem correct and the recipe came out as (I imagine) it was intended.  But I didn’t care for it.  Even increasing the rosemary and adding more as a garnish, I couldn’t taste much rosemary flavor.  The flavor of the mushrooms didn’t excite me, and I found the dish overall a bit boring.  I had to add more cheese to get it to taste like much at all. I also tried adding a little soy sauce, but it was too strong for the delicate flavors.  My post it note from my last attempt sums it up:  “Okay, not great.  Bland at first, improved by adding more rosemary.  Recipe calls for too much pasta, use 3/4 pound.  Not creamy enough to warrant all that butter.”  I’ve tried a number of mushroom pasta dishes in the last few years, and none of them has excited me.  Maybe I just don’t like mushrooms and pasta?  Or maybe (as Derek claims) I just don’t know how to cook mushrooms!

Derek liked it more than me.  He happily went for seconds, and said I should make it again.  I froze the last serving and Derek ate it for dinner the night we got back from our overseas flight from Austin.  He said it was still good, even after it had been frozen and defrosted in the microwave.

Rating: B-

Derek: B

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