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Sunday, October 17th, 2010 11:04 am
This dish is fairly easy to make, but can seem quite sophisticated. It is also a good thing to serve for dinner if you've got a lot of people coming over, and not the time or resources to go for a full fancy meal. It's also vegetarian, so it's good for a crowd. I will admit to shamelessly stealing this recipe from a restaurant in st andrews and adapting it to suit me. Of course, the recipe-stealing was all guesswork on my part, so maybe I can get away with "inspired by"?  Anyway, here it is. The secret is a *ton* of ground black pepper.

Ingredients:
  • *olive oil
  • *A few portabella mushrooms and a package or two of regular mushrooms, all sliced up
  • *crushed garlic
  • *heavy cream
  • *a lot of ground black pepper. I recommend just buying a jar of course pre-ground black pepper, lest your arm fall off from trying to grind enough.
  • *heavy cream
  • *white wine (it should be a decent wine. A crappy wine will make a crappy sauce. You can substitute red wine if that's what you've got; it doesn't really make a difference, except that the sauce will be an odd pink color.)
  • *some parsley, sage, thyme. Actually, what I'd recommend is a dash of italian herb mix.

Sautee the mushrooms and some garlic in the olive oil. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. When the mushrooms have cooked through, dump the whole thing into a colander until the juices have drained out . This will keep the sauce from turning an ugly black-grey color.

Now pour in a good amount of wine. And maybe a pinch more garlic. In the course of this recipe, I always seem to use up half a bottle. Or the whole bottle. I'm not a big fan of drinking white wine. But actually,  a cup or two is probably enough. It should be enough for the mushrooms to simmer in. Not that you should be boiling them. It's more of a simmer. Let it simmer for a minute or two, and then add two to three cups of cream. Add in a few dashes of the spices and some more pepper. Now this is the long part. Let it simmer, stirring and periodically stirring in a bunch of the black pepper. And when I say a bunch, I mean a bunch. By the time you're done, the sauce should look like it has freckles. Try to keep the sauce from foaming up too much, turning down the stove as necessary. But you need it to be simmering well...it's a delicate balance. But, happily, not one that makes or breaks the sauce. Pour in a half cup of water or so if it's reducing too quickly. Add more garlic if you like garlic. Occasionally add a good splash or two of wine. And more black pepper. And some salt, maybe. And your herbs.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta.
This sauce will be seem quite liquid. Just keep an eye on it, when it's reduced a good amount (like, say, where about as much liquid as there was wine has evaporated). You may thicken it with a bit of grated parmesan or a lazy roux  (flour and water, mixed until smooth) if you want. When it's started to thicken up, turn the heat off.
Drain your pasta, put in a bowl, ladle several things of the sauce & mushrooms over the pasta, and then stir up the pasta so it is all fairly well mixed. Put on more ground pepper. Stir.

And there you go. Extremely pepper-y mushroom cream sauce pasta. Trust me on the pepper. It's what makes the sauce.

With a salad and some bread (and wine!) this makes for a really nice meal.

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