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2008 New Recipe--WW Pasta with Mushroom-Walnut Sauce

nofunlatte | Feb 4, 2008 05:00 PM

This one's a modified Peter Berley recipe (from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen). I have been meaning to make this one for a couple of YEARS but somehow never did. Anyway, I was on this granola high because I joined (another!) co-op on Saturday. Now I'm a life member of three co-ops, but at least this one's only a 90-minute drive away. The others are a 7.5 hr. drive (in Iowa) and an 11 hr. drive (in Delaware). I guess I just join 'em whereever I live! So, being in the natural foods-vegetarian mood (I'm still an omnivore, but I'm on a meat-poultry-fish fast for a while because I ate way too much of the stuff in Dec.-Jan.) Well, I thought to myself that I'd make this recipe and I'd use the vegan version (oil instead of butter). I liked it and I also dirtied a lot of dishes. But I was happy with the dish and probably even happier that I was putting off the dismal duty of college promotion and tenure committee work.

My version of the recipe is halved, since I'm a singleton and don't want to eat it 7 days in a row. The original recipe serves 6, so just double if that's what you need.

You make a mushroom broth, which is used in the sauce. So, start with the broth:

2 cups water
1/3 cup dried mushrooms (no need to reconstitute first)
1 chopped celery rib
1 chopped carrot
1 bay leaf
a couple of shakes of dried thyme (sorry, didn't measure)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns

Add everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the broth for 30-40 minutes. The pot should be covered while simmering. Remove from heat, strain into bowl, extract the flavor from the solids before discarding them.

Next is the sauce.

1 portobello mushroom, diced
1-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small diced onion
2 chopped garlic cloves
2-3 Tbsp water
3/4 cup shelled walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp mirin
1-1/2 Tbsp tamari

In a saute pan (or, in my case, a Calphalon Everyday Pan), heat the oil over medium heat until shimmery or streaky. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the diced portobello. Stir the mushrooms until they start to caramelize. You may need to raise the heat a bit. Add water (start with 2 Tbsp and add the third if it evaporates too quickly). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes (until the mushrooms become tender).

Pour about 3/4 of the walnuts into a blender. Add one cup of the mushroom broth and mix until smooth. Pour into sauce. Add the rest of the broth to the blender and whirl it around so that you get the rest of the walnut cream. Then pour it all into the sauce.

Add mirin and soy sauce. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened to your liking.

Now the pasta:

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)

Boil pasta with salted water. Drain pasta when done, toss with sauce, and garnish with remaining walnuts.


I hadn't looked at this cookbook for some time, but now I've found other recipes I'd like to try. And I'll have to make an old favorite from this cookbook--Apple-Mustard Tempeh Sandwiches.

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