Growing up, I despised any and all mushrooms with a burning passion. My 9-year-old self came up with three solid reasons as to why mushrooms were not going to be a part of my diet. First off, they are from the fungi kingdom. How gross sounding is that? No, one goes ‘oh yum, fungi’. Second they always look poisonous. Yes, even when they’re on pizza they still pose a threat. And finally, they always taste like a combination of dirt and the earth. I mean c’mon, these are three solid reasons as to why someone wouldn’t want to eat mushrooms. Little Alex had a point here.
However, all that changed one faithful day… It’s 2015, its Christmas, and I’m in the kitchen blitzing cremini mushrooms for a Gordon Ramsay version of Beef Wellington, all while hoping that these tiny mushrooms aren’t going to ruin my Christmas dinner. Fast forward to now, you can say that my Christmas dinner was an absolute hit because I have come to love all different kinds of mushrooms since then. Yes, even the really earthy ones! It was a slow uphill battle but here I am making pasta with a VARIETY of seared mushrooms! Check me out ma!
I think that’s what makes this dish so good. The different textures, colors, sizes, and flavors of each mushroom makes this dish so interesting. Out of the assortment of mushrooms I picked up from Whole Foods, I personally loved the golden oyster mushrooms for their bright yellow color but also because so many little mushrooms grow on one stem. My other favorite for this dish was the king trumpet because of its size. While the other mushrooms shrank like crazy when they were searing away soaking up the all the flavorful oils, the king trumpet stayed true to its royal DNA by maintaining its massive size.
CREAMY MUSHROOM LINGUINE
6 oz. of Linguine
2 Tbsp. of diced Pancetta
2 Tbsp. of Olive oil
1 clove of chopped garlic
1 lb Assorted Mushrooms (I used: Shiitake, Golden Oyster, King Trumpet, Pippin)
2 Tbsp. Cream
2 Tbsp. of Pasta water
Freshly cracked black pepper
In a large pot, bring salted water up to a rapid boil and add in the linguine. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
In a large stick pan, set the flame to a medium high and cook the pancetta until they become brown and their fat has been rendered out.
Keeping the pancetta fat in the pan, scoop out the cooked pancetta and set aside for later use.
To the pancetta fat, add in oil, garlic, and the torn & cleaned mushrooms. If necessary, spread the mushrooms into a single layer with every mushroom touching the pan.
Sear the mushrooms for about 2 mins before flipping them to searing the other side for another 2 minutes.
Once the mushrooms have been seared on both sides, add in the cream, pasta water, and drained pasta to the mushrooms.
Keeping the heat on, stir to combine all the ingredients.
Lastly, squeeze in a little bit of lemon, crack in some black pepper, and add in the cooked pancetta. Take off the heat and enjoy immediately!!
If you salted your water correctly, the combination of the salted water and pancetta will be enough salt for the dish.