I’ve always loved mushrooms (ever since I was a kid) and besides them being healthy for you (great boost to your immune system), they are also versatile. Mushrooms are a great side dish, they add great flavour to stocks and sauces, you can add them to an omelet, make a soup, fry them, grill them, pan sear them, roast or slow poach them. I like them in place of meat, in rice and in today’s dish…a pasta.
You can pull off this dish with your usual button or cremini mushrooms but if you add some more exotic ones like King, Oyster or Shitake you’re going to get different textures and an array of mushroom flavours. Dried mushrooms are also great here and you can re-hydrate some in hot water, chop them up and use the mushroom stock that you unknowingly just made.
Reconstituted mushrooms with fresh mushrooms, herbs and cheese are a delicious combo. Today, I felt like using crumbled goat’s milk Feta for some tartness and some grated sheep’s milk Kefalotyri cheese to give some sharp high end to the dish. If you’re looking to take a break from meat, mushrooms are one way to fill your belly and satiate your meat cravings.
Rigatoni With Mushrooms & Cheese
1 lbs. of assorted mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup mushroom or vegetable stock
7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled goat’s milk Feta cheese
Grated Kefalotyri cheese (or Peccorino sheep’s milk cheese) to taste
4 cups of dry rigatoni pasta
- Place large pot of water on your stovetop and bring to a boil. Season the water with salt and add the pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes, drain and reserve.
- In a large skillet, add your olive oil over medium heat and then add the mushrooms. Season with some salt and pepper and stir occasionally to brown all sides of the mushrooms. After 5 minutes, add the onions, garlic, thyme and sweat for another 5 minutes.
- Now add the wine, stock and bring up to boil then lower to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add the cooked pasta and stir-in along with the crumbled Feta.
- Add the chopped parsley, lightly toss then finish-off with grated Kefalotyri cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Pair with a bottle of Estate Hatzimichalis Chardonnay.
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