As a red-wine loving vegan, mushrooms have a special place in my heart because they go so well with so many of the wines I love. Now that we are deeply into the Fall season and mushrooms are prolific, I am practically in heaven. Supper tonight is an example.
For the first course, I made a simple Mushroom Consommé, from Viana Laplace’s cookbook, Unplugged Kitchen. The recipe is astonishingly simple and good, although I embellished it by roasting the mushrooms first, which enriches their flavor.
Over the past few days I had collected cremini, Portobello, shitake, baby shitake and chanterelle mushrooms. First I cooked the chanterelles in a sauté pan, while in a preheated 450º F. oven, I oven-roasted the others with just olive oil, salt and pepper. These were supplemented by a handful of Italian dried porcini which were soaked in warm water for a half hour, then drained and chopped. Combining the chanterelles and the porcini with the roasted mushrooms, I saved about half of all them for my pasta sauce. The rest went into the soup pot with 6 cups of fresh spring water and the porcini water after they were drained, and were simmered at a lively pace for about an hour. After straining out the mushrooms, the remaining broth was served in porcelain espresso cups — rich, warm and engaging.
The main course was made by simmering the remaining mushrooms with two whole tomatoes from a can of my best peeled Italian tomatoes, plus sliced garlic and a sprig of rosemary from the garden. At various times I added a little white wine, some tomato juice and pasta water to get the roasted mushrooms tender enough in the sauce. After boiling 2/3 of a box [250 g.] of tagliolini al tartufo for a few minutes, I drained the pasta and added it to the simmering mushroom sauce.
The pasta was served with fresh spinach in garlic and olive oil, and oven-roasted endive from a Mark Bittman article online this week, using a Marcella Hazan recipe. The wine choice worked beautifully. It was a 2011 Linne Calodo Rising Tides, from their new release that just arrived yesterday. It is a blend of Grenache (38%), Mourvedre (32%), and Syrah (30%). Rich Central Coast California fruit, but not overstated — nicely balanced. When the technology permits a scratch-and-sniff blog, you’ll be able to appreciate the aroma of a wine like this.