A few weeks back my friend Margie invited me to the Old Field Farm Bootleg Buying Club. Old Field Farm is a 160 acre farm in upstate NY that explores the relationship of art and agriculture. This was not your average “meet the farmer and buy some things” type of event, but a show of collaboration, design and really, really good food.
We wandered around enjoying wine and various tasting tables of OFF products like prosciutto and a most decadent pork rillette. Eventually we made our way out back where a pop-up butcher demonstration and shop had been assembled by Jake and Silka, otherwise known as “The Butcher and the Baker” (be sure to check out their blog post with photos and details of the event). We watched as Jake broke down 2 whole sides of a Tamworth hog from the farm, and Margie eventually purchased a beautiful pork loin rack which he expertly Frenched and tied for her to roast.
The event also featured a beautifully curated shop of edible goods, pottery and books. Wandering among the honey, maple syrup, jams and other items, a curious display in the corner that caught my attention – jars and jars of dried mushrooms. There were Shitake, Chantarelle, Black Trumpet, Hen of the Woods, and several varieties I had never seen before, all of which I set to collecting a mixed bag of to take home.
I thought I would make a risotto with my new fungi collection (and perhaps I still will as another ounce remains), until the following week when Brad and I popped into Raffetto’s – a most magical Greenwich Village shop where you can watch fresh pasta be cut to order. He spied a farro fettuccine which we decided would be a perfect complement to the mushrooms and a different recipe began to take shape in my mind.
I gathered some fresh mushrooms, a mix of Shitake and Oyster, from our Greenmarket mushroom vendor to use in combination with the dried ones. I also threw in some peas from the last of my winter stash. I love them for both contrast in flavor and color, but if you want to enjoy pure mushroom mania, feel free to leave them out of the dish. Adding the liquid from soaking the dried mushrooms and bit of butter will result in a “sauce” that just coats the noodles and makes for one rich and earthy bowl of pasta.
Farro Fettuccine with Wild Mushrooms
- 1 lb. dried farro fettuccine
- 1 ounce dried wild mushrooms; a mix of Porcini, Chantarelle, Black Trumpet, Morel, or whatever you can find
- 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/2″ pieces or slices; Shitake, Oyster, and Hen of the Woods are all good choices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- 1 cup frozen peas *optional
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Fresh ground pepper
- Fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Soak for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Cut up any large mushrooms into 1/2″ pieces
Meanwhile, set a pot of water to boil for the pasta.
Set a large sauté pan over medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. When a flick of water sizzles, add the fresh mushrooms and garlic and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook stirring occasionally until the mushrooms release their moisture, and then begin to dry out in the pan – about 6-8 minutes. Add the dried mushrooms that have been soaked and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid and the peas, if desired, then continue cooking for about 5 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce slightly. Stir in the butter to melt, season with additional salt to taste and a generous grinding of fresh black pepper and remove from heat.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the fettuccine until al dente. Strain the pasta and immediately toss with the the mushroom mixture and a healthy grating of cheese. Distribute among serving dishes and serve with addition cheese if desired.
Although it is only mid-March, it seems undeniable that Spring has sprung! 70 degree afternoons are just perfect for enjoying a mid-day meal outside: