Wild Mushroom and Green Pasta Gratin
We’ve been making variations on this in early Winter 2000. Play with the ingredients!

2 oz. dried Boletus edulis (we used fresh chanterelles.)
5 tbsp. sweet butter
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1.5 cups reduced chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
Sprigs of fresh parsley
Green fettuccini for 4

This pasta is gratineed in a hot oven. The top is browned and crusty, the interior creamy and aromatic. The recipe works very well with other species of mushroom as well, fresh or dried: morels, horn of plenty, and so on.

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak until soft. To make the sauce, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and blend together. Let the roux cook gently a few minutes. Whisk in 1.5 c. reduced chicken stock and the cream Season with salt and pepper and a suggestion of nutmeg. Draw off 2-3 tbsp. of the juice from the mushrooms and add to the sauce. Put the mixture in the top of a double boiler and simmer for an hour or so. Carefully sort through the mushrooms and cut away any pockets of dirt and grit. Cut them into slices. Chop the garlic and parsley.

Sauté the mushrooms in butter for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and parsley. Cook the mushrooms as though they were fresh (even if they’re not). Add the sauce. Cook the fettuccine and add to the mushroom sauce. Season the noodles. Put into a buttered gratin dish and cover the top with freshly grated parmesan and put in a hot oven (400-425F) for 15-20 minutes. It is ready when the top is crusty and golden.

notes from meriko: We’ve used all kinds of pasta, and thrown different veggies in with the mushrooms, as well. We’ve sometimes added a bread-crumb cheese mixture for a topping, instead of just the cheese. If you do this, dot the top with butter before baking.

From Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza, & Calzone, 1984.