Charles Day is the Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter at Wave Hill.
Our popular woodland cooking series continued this spring when we were joined by Gary Lincoff of the New York Mycological Society. Gary introduced us to the world of wild mushrooms and fungi with a very informative and entertaining slide show. He was encouraging about collecting wild mushrooms but very clear about the possible dangers – one should not mess with mushrooms you don’t know as the results can be fatal! Chef Marc Spooner of Great Performances (Wave Hill’s exclusive caterer) then demonstrated two vegetable dishes that strongly featured wild mushrooms, such as hen-of-the-woods and king bolete. The “wild mushroom pasta with truffled cream sauce” was rich and delicious and the “peas and carrots” dish was a fresh-tasting and colorful assembly of tiny carrots, peas and baked wild mushrooms with a carrot and onion puree. Marc was delighted to share these recipes.
Wild Mushroom Pasta with Truffled Cream Sauce
1 lb. assorted wild mushrooms, washed, dried and stemmed
4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 lb. spaghetti
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into brunoise pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
4 oz. unsalted butter
24 oz. heavy whipping cream
½ bunch Italian parsley for garnish
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the dried porcini mushrooms. Remove from heat and reserve. Prepare pasta according to the directions on the package and reserve. Blanch the diced carrot in boiling salted water until just done, strain and reserve. Strain the porcini mushrooms and reserve both the water and the mushrooms.
Place a pan over medium high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic cloves and shallot until aromatic. Add the assorted wild mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender. Add the porcini mushrooms and 1 cup of the reserved porcini stock. Reduce liquid by half. Add the heavy cream and reduce by half. Add salt and pepper to taste to the sauce then add 2oz of the butter, the carrot and pasta. Toss to coat. If needed, add more of the reserved stock and butter until desired consistency is achieved. Drizzle with truffle oil, toss and plate. Garnish with few large sprigs of parsley.
Peas and Carrots
1 lb. large carrots cut into 2” pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, and cut into 1” slices
2 qt vegetable stock or water
1 lb assorted mushrooms, washed, dried and stemmed
1 lb English peas, in shell
16 Thumbelina carrots (or assorted baby carrots)
8 oz pea tendrils
Olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350˚F. Place carrots, onions and vegetable stock (or water) in a large pot over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until fork tender. Do not boil, adjust heat as necessary. Strain the contents and reserve the liquid. Puree the carrots and onions adding some of the reserved stock as needed. Puree until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of mustard. Set aside and allow to cool.
Place mushrooms on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 350° F until tender. Set aside and allow to cool. Remove peas from shell and blanch in salted boiling water until tender. Strain and shock peas in a bowl of ice water, drain and reserve. Peel Thumbelina carrots and blanch in salted boiling water, until just done, strain and shock in a bowl of ice water, drain and reserve.
Place some of the carrot puree on the plate. In a bowl, toss the remaining ingredients with olive oil, salt and pepper (add herbs if desired). Arrange on plate.
Recipes courtesy of Mark Spooner of Great Performances.