I have a deep enamel bowl of shiitake and porcini mushrooms along with some just-picked large black mushrooms the size of a side plate. I usually make a classic Marcelle Hazan mushroom risotto, but this evening I am going to do a pasta dish with mushrooms and cream and penne.
- a large handful or two or more of fresh shiitake and porcini mushrooms
- 1 3/4 cups boiling-hot water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large garlic clove, minced fine
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 lb dried penne, good quality
- one cup of single cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Accompaniment: finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padua in a pinch
Wipe fresh mushrooms clean with a paper towel. Don’t rinse mushrooms in water, ever. Heat 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté fresh mushrooms with garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Cook penne in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander, then add it to mushrooms in skillet. Add cream and cook over moderately high heat, tossing and adding some pasta-cooking liquid if necessary to lightly coat, 1 minute. Add chives, parsley, lemon zest, and juice, then toss well. Serve immediately with cheese and pepper to taste.
You can add hot chilli flakes if you want to do so, but it will taste creamy and earthy and delicious without. You could also use basil if that is in season. And you could skip the lemon juice if you just want unctuousness.