Hand Cut Pasta with Maitake Mushrooms and Squash Blossoms
August 9, 2010
Last week I was given some Maitake mushrooms, also called Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and immediately started thinking up dishes where I could showcase their earthy goodness. Sometimes simple preparations are best; good sweet butter, fresh herbs, homemade pasta all compliment the star of the show; the mushroom. I added the squash blossoms because I had them in my garden, but if you don’t have any, you could leave them out, or replace them with zucchini, sliced into very thin ribbons.
These mushrooms not only taste good, but have been heavily researched for their cancer-fighting properties and may help balance blood sugar. In the wild, they can grow in pods of up to 40 or 50 pounds those these were commercially grown, organically, in little 3.5 oz cups, making them look a little like a mushroom cupcake.
10 oz fresh pasta
7 oz Maitake (Hen of the Woods) mushrooms
12-15 squash blossoms
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
fresh sage, about 2 Tbsp julienned
fresh basil, purple (or green), about 2 Tbsp julienned
salt and pepper
While working, keep the finished pasta under damp kitchen towels so it doesn’t dry out.
To cut the pasta, take a sheet and trim off any ragged edges. Starting at a short end, roll up the pasta and then slice it into 3/4 inch pieces and unroll the strips.
Trim the mushrooms off the base, if still attached, separating them into individual pieces. Slice the shallot very thinly. Clean the squash blossoms and if they are very large, slice them in half lengthwise.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, but wait to cook the pasta until the sauce is almost ready. The pasta will cook in about 3-4 minutes
Heat a large saute pan. Add the olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes until they are soft.
Put the pasta in the water and have a colander ready to drain the pasta.
Add the squash blossoms and the remaining butter to the pan with the mushrooms. Toss quickly so that the blossoms wilt, and the butter melts. Toss in half of the fresh herbs and then turn off the pan.
Drain the pasta and immediately combine with the sauce, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs and serve immediately.