May 15, 2012

Linguine with Portabella Mushrooms (Gluten Free)

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Among the things that are so spectacular about portabella mushrooms are their size. Simply roasting them and arranging them on a platter with fresh soft herbs and a drizzle of olive oil can make an impressive presentation. With such a beautiful vegetable, it might seem a shame to chop them up, but with flavor to rival their good looks, its worth it. There are smaller varieties of portabella mushrooms available; baby bellas and even cremini mushrooms. Sadly, along with being smaller, I think that they lack the complexity of flavor.

This pasta combines my love for portabella mushrooms with a kiss of white truffles. It is far from easy to procure fresh white truffles, but pastes, purees, and oils are not difficult to find and work quite well in making this an extraordinary sauce. It is a simple dish to prepare and can be an elegant first course made with fresh pasta if you are entertaining.

Mushrooms, particularly the asian varieties, provide the richest vegetable source of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that incorporates into proteins to create antioxidant enzymes that are essential to our health.  The high selenium content is what has made mushrooms a super food for a cancer-fighting diet, and has proved to be a key component in the decreased risk and recurrence of prostate cancer. They are also a good source of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid and an under recognized source of potassium.

Linguine with Portabella Mushrooms and White Truffle Essence
Serves 4 as a main course and 6 as a first course
For all of the ingredients, please use only those that are organic or pesticide free.
 
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 portabella mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 tablespoon white truffle puree, if available (I used Urbani White Truffles Puree)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil, or more if desired
2 teaspoons chives, snipped with a scissor
16-18 ounces Bionaturae Gluten Free Linguine or favorite pasta of your choice
  fleur de sel, maldon, or other finishing salt
  freshly ground black pepper
  parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
 
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over a medium flame. Add the shallots and a sprinkling of salt, cook for a few minutes, and reduce the heat to low. Cook the shallots until they begin to caramelize. It will take another 5-10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms to the shallots. Turn the heat up to medium high and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together. Cook for about 5 minutes until the size of the mushrooms decrease to half their size and begin to brown. Turn the heat up and add the fresh thyme and wine. Leave the heat high long enough for the wine to fully evaporate, about 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer or turn off.
Generously salt the boiling water to the point that it tastes like sea water. Add the pasta and set a timer for 90 seconds less than the recommended cooking time on the package.
While the pasta is cooking, add the truffle puree to the cooked mushrooms.
When the timer has indicated that the set amount of time has passed, the pasta will still seem to be undercooked. Add a ladle full of the pasta water to the mushrooms and drain the pasta into a colander. Immediately add the pasta to the saute pan with the mushrooms. Turn up the heat to medium low and toss the pasta into the sauce.
Add the freshly snipped chives (not used in the photographed recipe) and the white truffle oil. Continue to toss ingredients together in pan over heat for 30-60 seconds.
Season with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediatlely with parmesan cheese for those who might want it.

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Categories: Gluten Free, Pasta & Risotto, Vegan Entrees
 

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