Noodles & Rices Recipes

Hen of the Woods Pasta Alfredo

A woodsy & rich pasta alfredo featuring Hen of the Woods mushrooms.

I’ve kept my eye out for Hen of the Woods mushrooms ever since I saw a recipe on Lucky Peach that chicken fried the mushroom cap southern-style, and threw it in between two sesame buns.

I did some searching online, and Forager Chef, a stunning blog I immediately bookmarked to my browser, published a very similar recipe to the one I remember.

I love the concept of chicken frying. Chicken fried steak? With gravy? F$#&ing outstanding.

I had never come across the mushroom until I went to the FRESHFARM farmer’s market in Dupont Circle the other day. The mushrooms there were a sight to behold.

There’s a strain I learned about called Lion’s Mane mushrooms that appeared, assuredly, to be a ball of fur. The texture was coral-like. I couldn’t believe it was edible. And couldn’t imagine being the first person to take a bite, demonstrating for us all that they are in fact, edible.

Having just fried a portabella mushroom to create the vegetarian Molten ‘Shroom Burger, I wanted to find another recipe that would throw the mushroom onto center stage. And I decided on a mushroom and garlic-infused alfredo sauce. Needlessly heavy on the cream, butter and parm reg, as always.

The turnout couldn’t have been more on point – and since garlic and mushrooms love each other so much, I figured if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and held back from veering too far from that standard flavor combination, with the exception of ground nutmeg.

You’ll want to make a full pound of this, for indulging in later. Speaking from recent experience, this first bite is addictive in the worst and best way possible.

I N G R E D I E N T S

I suppose this serves 4, but it could serve 1. It depends on how much self-restraint you have.

  • 1 pound Hen of the Woods mushrooms, torn or sliced into 1 to 2 inch pieces, stems included
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons truffle butter
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta, or another long pasta of your choosing
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup reserved cooking liquid from the pasta
  • 1 cup parm reg, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper, plus additional for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid before draining.
  2. In the meantime, in a large sauté pan, melt the truffle butter. When foaming, add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their fluid. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer a few mushroom slices to a separate bowl for garnish later.
  3. Once the pasta is drained, add it immediately to the pan with the mushrooms, followed by the remaining ingredients – butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and all but some of the parm reg.
  4. The pasta will thicken quickly once it starts to soak up the cream and butter. Use the reserved pasta cooking liquid to thin out the sauce.
  5. Once the cheese is melted and the mixture is uniform throughout, plate the pasta, topping with extra parm reg, slices of the mushroom, and a sprinkling of crushed black peppercorns, if desired.

 

 

 

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