Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Fettuccine with Morel and Shiitake Mushroom Cream Sauce

Up until now, I had only made pasta with regular unbleached all-purpose flour.  On my list to try is still the 00, doppio zero talcum-soft white flour, which I have not yet gotten my hands on.  According to my Marcella Hazan, whose recipe I've been following, this is the flour to use for making fresh egg pasta.  What not to use at home, she says, is semolina flour.  It is milled from durum wheat and is grainy, making it difficult to roll out with a rolling pin.  Best to be left to commercial pasta makers.  But alas I have a machine roller and it is in my nature to experiment, so I did.  I combined 3 eggs with about 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour and Stella rolled the pasta to the #5 setting and cut it using the fettuccine cutter.  Pasta is becoming Stella's specialty.  Depending on the size of your eggs, you could need more or less flour.  
Cook the pasta in boiling water with some salt and oil for about 2 minutes.  It took just a little longer than other pasta I'd made with regular flour.  Wait until your sauce is ready to cook the pasta or else the pasta will stick together, especially as it is fresh.


My kids love a good cream sauce... but then again who doesn't?  Maybe my parents... I don't think there's anything about a cream sauce my mom likes, so how did I get to be such a fan of it?  Hmmm, could it be that it makes almost everything taste better?  It mellows, sweetens and enriches.  That's some power to wield.  But too much of this good thing, could be a bad thing.  So, use with careful abandon, as we all have different tolerance levels for decadence.  


For this simple pasta, I quick fried some sage leaves in grape seed oil, then set aside.  Then with the oil from that, I sauteed some thinly sliced garlic then added fresh shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced, and fresh morel mushrooms, cut in half or quartered depending on size.  Deglaze with a little dry vermouth, then finish with a heavy cream.  Toss with the cooked pasta and a large handful of arugula.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a few fried sage leaves and shaved parmigiano reggiano.   Oh happy day!  We all agreed we liked this pasta the best out of the many times I've made fresh pasta.  It had more elasticity and body.  The sauce was clean and not too rich.  The arugula gave it a nice nutty flavor, the mushrooms an earthy woodsy balance, and the cream, a warm blanket over it all.  The sage added a taste of green earth and the parmigiano a bit of salt and well, cheesy goodness.  Have to give it an A.

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