Friday, July 1, 2011

Orecchiette With Oyster Mushrooms

I go wild over mushrooms, any mushrooms so to speak especially those that are uncommon and hard to find. I could eat mushrooms everyday to be honest. And if someday I will be forced to become a vegetarian I will have to have mushrooms in replacement of meat.

The other day I was lured into buying a package of oyster mushrooms at the Asian Market. Oyster mushrooms used to be seasonal, growing on trees after the first rains of the season hence they were only available during the fall. Today big companies and local farmers are growing them so they are now available year-round and can be found easily in supermarkets and farmer's market alongside the more common crimini and button mushrooms.

I had no recipe in mind when I bought them but they were on sale and they were some of the most beautiful oyster mushrooms I have seen. A little note on buying oyster mushrooms, buy ones whose caps are white, cream or taupe and whose stems are white and velvety. It should be firm and not too moist.

I had a few ideas, I could saute them with bokchoy and garlic or dip it in egg and breading and pan fry them for an appetizer. Then last night, I had no clue what to make for dinner - the fridge was empty and I had nothing but these mushrooms.  I was skeptical about combining oyster mushrooms and pasta until all-knowing google led me to a few recipes.  So how about a cream based mushroom sauce and pasta?   Sounds good isn't it?  So I went ahead and made this recipe.

Orecchiette With Oyster Mushrooms

8 oz oyster mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon chicken buillon or base (to taste)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 ounces orecchiette
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Cook orecchiette according to package directions.
(Tip: cook sauce before the pasta so you have a pasta cooked aldente)

Separate Oyster mushrooms and wipe clean with wet paper towel.

Melt butter in large skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook over over medium heat, stirring frequently until mushrooms are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add flour and cook 1 minute.

Add milk, chicken base, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon over pasta. Sprinkle on parsley and cheese.

Other Oyster mushroom and pasta dish suggestions:
Oyster Mushrooms, Pasta in Cream Sauce
Chicken Breast with Oyster Mushroom Champagne, Scrambled Eggs with Oyster Mushrooms, Oyster Mushroom Tempura

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