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Mushroom Ragout

mushroomRagout

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…except that there is no more Glee until February.  However the good news is that Top Chef All-Stars is here to bring some cheer to the winter.  I have accepted that my top cheftestant is not very well like however I am beyond thrilled that the evil that is Elia has been eliminated.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a certain wine man goes home today, mostly because he insulted the awesomeness that is Candice who rocks an apron and stilettos better than any woman I know.  One of the side effects of Top Chef is that it inspires me to go outside of the box when it comes to planning my own menus.  I start thinking that I can do red wine reduction, or a deconstructed tiramisu, or something else as insane.  Or even worse…I start thinking I can afford some of those pretty tools they are using.  However I am not Prof Blais therefor I don’t need liquid nitrogen to make ice cream and I’m certainly not Casey therefor I can make awesome food ala Miss Hootie Hoo sans the vacuum machine and the sous vide cooking style.  This is a recipe that Fabio would probably be proud of, however I have a feeling a certain Tony would consider it to be too peasant for him.  (enough TC references for you???) 
Ingredients:
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
3 cups wild mushrooms, diced or whole if using pearl/button mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp marsala wine
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp half&half
assorted Italian spices
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Directions:
1. In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 7-10minutes.  Add the tomatoes, broth. water, and marsala and bring to a boil.  Season to taste with basil, oregano, and other delicious Italian style spices.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 15minutes.
2.  In another saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  SLOWLY stir in the flour creating a thick paste.  Add the half&half while stirring, mix well and cook 2minutes.  Add the mushroom mixture and stir well slowly bringing the mixture to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 10-15minutes.
3.  Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and return to pan.  Mix well with the sauce, top with some fresh cheese and serve!

This recipe is one that can easily be elevated depending on what mushrooms you are able to find, and there are really no limits on what you use.  I have done pearl, cremini, baby bella, potabella, button, and once an assorted wild mushroom collection from Whole Foods.  Have fun and experiment with combinations until you get the right mixture.  

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