Monday, April 14, 2008

Muffin and the Mushroom

In the interest of not furthering the limitation of my palate, I've been on this mission to make myself like mushrooms. My initial mushroom opinion was one of extreme hatred, all kinds of mushrooms tasted nasty to me and the only reason I would eat them is if they happened to have some other use (if you know what I'm saying...wink wink, nudge nudge). The main problem I've always had with mushrooms is the texture. In fact, most of the foods I choose not to partake of have textures, rather than flavors, that I intensely dislike (ie - eggplant, okra). With fungi though, there is something about that slimy, mushy-yet-firm combo that really doesn't work for me. But I realized that the inherent flavor is actually quite appealing to me, it's almost meaty. (Interesting side-note: I have a vegetarian friend who stopped eating portobello mushrooms because they tasted too much like meat. I can totally see that, but being the raging carnivore that I am, this only makes me like them more.)

But moving on, I had a couple of rather more pleasant mushroom tasting experiences, and now I want more. So I decided the best course of action would be to actually cook them myself. Then I could make sure to make them how I like them (ie - not the slimy, mushy-yet-firm combo).
I began cooking down the mushrooms in garlic and oil, and this wonderful earthy aroma took over my kitchen. As my astute roommate mentioned (another mushroom disliker, I might add), as they cook down in oil and garlic, they smell like wine. I agree, and who doesn't love the scent of alcohol cooking...anyone?

This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine's Pasta Cookbook.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Parsley

1/2 c olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 lb pasta (I used bucatini, but any rod pasta will work)
4-5 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Begin heating salted water for the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 min. Add the mushrooms and cook down (they will give off a lot of liquid, let this evaporate off) until they are browned and almost crunchy (approx 10-15 min).
Toss with the pasta, fresh parsley and salt to taste.

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