Sunday, July 3, 2011

Using Dried Mushrooms in Pasta Dough

Depending upon where one lives, mushroom hunting season could be right around the corner, or months away. Here in southcentral Alaska, it is getting near time to begin looking in the Northern Boreal forests around where I live, after every rain. The most favored wild mushrooms locally are the Boletus especially Boletus edulis, also called locally King Boletus. I also gather Boletus mirabilis and Boletus reticulatis (very small, even when mature). There are many kinds of edible mushrooms that pop up locally, but few are choice. The Boletus are delectable.
Those we don't east fresh, we dry, usually on a screen in a baking pan at about 175 degrees F. They can be stored for up to a year in a jar, along with other dry storage foods.

Recently, I've tried grinding up dried mushrooms as the basic ingredient for pasta, both as ravioli and fettucini dough. It works rather well.

I use an old electric coffee grinder that we don't use for coffee anymore. We use this old one for fine grinding of spices and other items that are completely dried, cleaning it thoroughly after every use, so that the taste of what was ground last doesn't mess with what is next.

Last Sunday, I made a Bay scallop fettucini with dried mushroom pasta.

The pasta dough also contained mature arugula leaves and arugula flowers, and a bit of flour, but the main ingredient was the dried mushrooms. I had already used all of our own dried mushrooms from 2010, so I used some of the dried mushrooms one can get at Costco in a big plastic jar, at a reasonable price. That blend contains boletus, shitake and other dried mushrooms.

The Bay scallop topping was a typical mollusk pasta sauce, using the scallops, white wine, olive oil, fresh parsley and bottled (or canned) clam juice.

The pasta dough:

1 & 1/4 cups ground, dried mushrooms
1 cup arugula flowers
2 cups arugula leaves
2/3 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
2 small eggs
2 Tbs. olive oil

Finely grind the mushrooms in an old coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Microwave the arugula and flowers, covered in a bowl, with a bit of water for 30 seconds. Drain and let cool. Combine the arugula, eggs, oil, and salt in a blender or food processor and mix fully, until the arugula is shredded finely.

Pour into large mixing bowl. Add the mushroom powder and begin doughing. Add the flour a bit at a time, until the pasta dough no longer sticks to your hands or to the mixer's batter mixing tool. Cover with plastic for later use, or divide into 2/3 cup segments to roll out - first by hand, then by rolling pin, then into a pasta making machine.
Along the way, baste the dough with flour, to keep its surface dry-ish. Cut into six-inch long segments and run through the fettucini tool. Baste in flour again. Lay out on a clean surface to air or dry.

The Bay Scallop sauce:

1 & a half pounds Bay scallops
6 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup dry Vermouth or other dry white wine
up to 2 cups bottled or canned clam juice
1 Tbs. anchovy paste
salt to taste
2 cups (or even more) fresh, chopped parsley (Italian parsley may be used)

Slowly heat a skillet toward high. Pour half of the olive oil in with the scallops, either in their bag, or into a bowl, and mix in. When the pan is hot, put about a dozen scallops at a time into the pan, and quickly brown both sides. Remove from heat to a bowl very soon after browned. Repeat until all the scallops have been cooked and removed from heat.

Quickly add the wine and clam juice to the pan. Allow to reach a roiling boil, then turn down the heat to moderately low, until the sauce is solidly boiling, but not more. Add the anchovy paste. Reduce down to just over a cup and a half of liquid. Add the scallops and parsley. Salt to taste and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, a separate pot of water, with dashes of olive oil and salt added should have been brought to a full boil. Add the fettucini noodles, in about four batches. They cook quite rapidly, and we cook them for only about 30 to 45 seconds and scoop them out of the water and into a colander. Once all the noodles are done, pour a dash of olive oil onto them in the colander and mix it in.

Lay the noodles on a plate. Pour the sauce with scallops over them. You may top this with Parmesan, Romano or any other typical pasta covering cheese.

This recipe serves four.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love home made pasta! Great idea using mushrooms too! I experiment with all kinds of additives myself :)