March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm 2 comments

Recently, my daughter treated me to a “Foraging” class at Massachusett’s Audubon Society at Drumlin Farm. The class was led by Lawrence Millman, author of Fascinating Fungi of New England. He was both witty and funny. Unfortunately, both Natalie and I stared quizzically ahead while listening to terms such Schizophyllum, mycelium, and polypore.

We were looking forward to bundling up and searching for mushrooms in the woods but wouldn’t you know it, very few mushrooms grow in the winter! Oh, well! We had a great time finding different fungus. Our favorite: Turkey Tails.

I was hoping to use my foraged mushrooms in one of my favorite pasta recipes, but had to purchase them in the store instead. Much safer, I’m sure!

First, a nutrition word about mushrooms. One cup of mushrooms is 15 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, and 2g protein.

They are a good source of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, all B vitamins. This is good news for vegetarians as their intake of B-vitamins can be low. Mushrooms’ protein content are another plus for vegetarians.

Mushrooms contain a good amount of phosphorus, copper and selenium. Mushrooms are the richest source of selenium in the produce section of the grocery store.

Mushrooms may help protect against some cancers.

Mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the immune system.

Mushrooms provide a sense of satiety while supplying a small amount of calories.

Fettuccine with Hearty Mushroom Ragu

Serves 6

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms

3 portobello mushrooms, stemmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced

8 ounces oyster mushrooms, halved if large

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

1 onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

¾ cup dry Marsala wine

6 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 pound dried fettuccine

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the broth, tomatoes, and porcini mushrooms in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand until porcinis soften, about 15 minutes. Drain; reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini mushrooms and set aside.

2. With a spoon, scrape off the dark gills under the Portobello mushroom caps and discard; cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

3. Heat a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add the Portobello, cremini, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms, then the onion, garlic and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until the juices evaporate and the mushrooms begin to brown, abourt 10 minutes. Add the porcini muchrooms. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the Marsala and reserved soaking liquid. Cover and simmer until the sauce is reduced by almost half and the mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes, adding the reserved cooking liquid to thin the sauce if necessary. Season again with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl. Top with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Per serving: 565 calories, 17g fat, 81g carbohydrates, 21g protein, 7g fiber, 110mg calcium, 299mg sodium.


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