Great news! Today I’m also sharing this recipe over at Broadway+Thresher, a new online lifestyle magazine dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of our rural areas and the influence urban migration has had on them. They’ve got some beautiful stuff over there already, and I’m honored to be a part of it with this recipe for Wild Mushroom Papardelle. Keep up the great work, guys!
I’m inspired by simplicity.
And when that simplicity is bathed in butter? Even better.
This pasta dish contains two kinds of mushrooms: dried porcini mushrooms as well as the more exotic Maitake mushroom, also called Hen of the Woods mushrooms, my newest discovery. Why dried mushrooms? Why not use all fresh? While the fresh mushrooms definitely have a delicate texture that the dried version can’t reproduce, it’s that rehydrating process that is the key to this recipe, namely what is leftover: mushroom water (mushroom juice?) The soaking liquid left after the mushrooms have softened is loaded with a robust, earthy flavor that would be a shame to waste. Some of that water gets added to the pan along with the mushrooms, making the sauce into, well, a sauce.
With a splash of lemon juice, a dash of parsley and red pepper flakes, and a flurry of freshly grated Pecorino cheese topping it all off, this dish comes together in a delightful symphony of flavors, rich and buttery yet light and delicate. Inspired by a local restaurant here in Nashville (the same place, the same meal actually, that inspired this Brussels Sprout Salad that you all loved so much), the result is incredible.
If you’ve never made homemade pasta before, I suggest you start out with a basic recipe, perhaps the one that came with your machine (or hand crank). I’ve posted my basic recipe before, such as in these Fresh Corn Ravioli, as well as published it in our book, you’ll just want to slice the pasta sheets into wide noodles instead of shaping them into ravioli.
Another tip? Make the effort to find 00 pasta or 00 semolina flour. It makes a world of difference; you’ve never had pasta so tender. However, you can also substitute fresh store bought linguine or fettuccine in this recipe if you’re short on time.
Don’t forget to click on over to see this recipe, plus some extra photos of the process at Broadway+Thresher.
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Life is short, and strawberry season is even shorter.
Don’t waste one precious second.
We ditched work one afternoon last week (shh, don’t tell) and went strawberry picking, hoping to fill our flats with ripe red berries before the rain arrived. We had no particular plans for the berries other than consuming as many as our tummies would allow. It was also assumed that more than a few of these beautiful berries were bound for the canner.
And, tell me, are you really surprised? What did you expect for the first jam of the season?
As it turns out, strawberry hibiscus is a pretty incredible combination, and doesn’t do anything to dampen this little obsession I’m experiencing. And folks? I’ve still got half a bag left. I told you 1 pound of dried hibiscus went a long way.
This tropical jam is based off of last year’s Strawberry Vanilla jam recipe, replacing the vanilla bean with a concentrated hibiscus ‘tea’ made from dried flowers steeped in hot water.
The jam itself isn’t overly floral; the hibiscus does more to enhance the natural flavor and fruitiness of the strawberry than anything. But don’t take that to mean it tastes ordinary; it is anything but.
This recipe is a traditional jam, with no added pectin. It will produce a fairly loose jam, which I tend to prefer, as it is just as easily drizzled over vanilla ice cream as it is spread onto toast. If you prefer more gel in your jelly, up the pectin (with some lemon zest or some commercial pectin) and cook it a wee bit longer.
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It’s been a long time coming, this mac ‘n cheese.
I’m fairly loyal to the boxed stuff, and will admit I had never really tried a homemade version before this year. Why? I have no idea.
I first attempted to recreate a version from a local restaurant in town. Word of warning: do not use buttermilk when making mac ‘n cheese. Silo, it turns out, uses a buttermilk cheddar cheese from a local farm, not actual buttermilk. Want to know what happens when you heat up buttermilk? Curds. Glorious, chunky, unappetizing curds. It’s not pretty and it sure as heck isn’t creamy like cheese sauce should be.
Once we’d given up on that idea (it only took 3 tries to realize it was NOT going to work), we moved on to a basic mac and cheese, figuring if we could get a foundation in place, then we could start experimenting with add-ins. Batch after batch we made, and batch after batch we ate without being entirely pleased with the results. White pepper ruined it one night, too much mustard powder another. Not wanting to throw out perfectly good cheese, we ate more gritty, pasty mac and cheese than I care to admit. But the cheese turned out to be the most important factor of all. Extra-sharp cheddar cheese might sound promising, but it imparts an oddly bitter taste that has no place in my ideal mac and cheese.
Once we figured out that last part, replacing the sharp with a mild, white cheddar (the raw milk cheddar from Trader Joe’s to be precise), it was like the planets aligned and everything came together in perfect, cheesy harmony.
Our favorite variation is this one, with thinly sliced Brussels sprouts interspersed amongst the cheese and noodles. With the right balance of cheese and spice, the Brussels sprouts fit into the mix perfectly, without a trace of bitterness to be found. It’s creamy beyond compare, with the perfect bit of crunch from the cheese and breadcrumbs on top.
Granted, I’ll still indulge in the odd box of instant mac, probably more often than I really should. Because really, there’s something about that neon cheese powder, an intense craving, that homemade just can’t satisfy. And yet, this homemade version is really growing on me. We’ve made it multiple times since we found our golden cheese ratio, and I find myself craving it at odd times of the day (like, uh, now?) Leave the Brussels out if you must, or play around with your own mix-ins, but I will say this: cheese matters. Stick to the varieties and the proportions listed in this recipe and you’ll be saying cheese for a long time to come.
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Hello, gorgeous flower cocotte.
Who would have ever thought cookware could bring such happiness?
In part 2 of our ongoing partnership with Le Creuset®, we’ve developed two delightful spring recipes for this gorgeous new piece.
This baked Lemon Risotto (pictured above) is perhaps the easiest risotto we’ve ever made. One pot. In the oven. 25 minutes and done. It’s tart and creamy and would be perfect topped with some seared scallops or grilled fish.
Also, in a unique twist on a classic, our Starfruit Upside-Down Cake is nothing short of stunning, and perfectly fitting of the flower shape. We’d never worked with starfruit before developing this recipe, and were intruigued by the unique flavor, somewhere in between a pineapple and a concord grape. It’s a tart and fruity compliment to the lightly-spiced and oh-so-buttery cake. I’m not one to indulge in cakes that aren’t chocolate and/or smothered in frosting, but this cake is definitely an exception to that rule.
Like the Heart Casserole we featured in February, the Flower Cocotte is the perfect size for a meal for two or side dishes where a larger dutch oven seems like overkill (which is often the case in our two-person household). Not to mention Le Creuset’s newest color, Soleil, is stunning. Can you say great Mothers’ day gift idea?
Today’s your lucky day, because Le Creuset is offering up one Flower Cocotte (valued at $150) to one lucky L&OO reader! You know you want one.
So, what are you waiting for? Click through to enter this fantastic giveaway!
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