Now that Fall is almost here and the nights are somewhat cooler, it's time to change gears and concentrate on the Autumn harvest. I am sad to see our local fresh market shift from peaches and tomatoes to pumpkins and squash for I know that before the month is over, the tents will come down at least until the Spring. If truth be told, though, I am getting tired of the peaches in spite of the fact that it has been one of the best harvests I can recall.
Pennsylvania is the top-producing mushroom state in the United States, and celebrates September as "Mushroom Month". It's incredible what you learn when you write a food blog and have to come up with seasonal recipes for your readers! That I didn't know...
If you can't find fresh mushrooms at your supermarket, dry ones are great and available all year long. They should be in every serious cook's well stocked pantry for sauces and quick meals such as this. For this sauce, try to use at least three different types of mushrooms and experiment with a couple you haven't tried before.
While I prefer the thicker bucatini to spaghetti in this recipe, I realize the former is not usually available at most grocery stores in this country. You can substitute spaghetti, linguini or pappardelle but stay away from bows and shells. Remember the shape of the pasta is important depending on the sauce you use!
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 1/2 ounces prosciutto (sliced 1/8-inch-thick), cubed
1 1/4 pound mixed mushrooms, such as shimeji, shitake, chanterelle, trumpet or blue foot, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, onion and prosciutto; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, broth, water, and pinch salt and pepper; stir gently to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until mushrooms are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. While pasta is cooking, place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Drain pasta, transfer to a large serving bowl, add hot cream and mushroom mixture, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Recipe and photo from La Cucina Italiana