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
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid before draining.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.