pappardelle with mushrooms

as much as i adore mushrooms, i've always steered clear of any recipe that called for dried porcinis. i don't know why, but they've always intimidated me; something about having to reconstitute them made me afraid they would turn into chewy sponges in the end. boy was i wrong! i'm so glad i gave this recipe a try. it's really simple and full of mushroom flavor. don't let the time fool you - 30 minutes of it is spent waiting for the porcinis to reconstitute. no wonder this was one of cooking light's best recipes.

pappardelle with mushrooms
adapted from cooking light
45 minutes; 15 active minutes, serves 4

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup boiling water
8 ounces pappardelle
1 large shallot, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 ounce (or 5 tablespoons) freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. rinse porcini mushrooms under running water. combine the porcini and boiling water in a small bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. once soft, drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. chop porcini. cook the pasta according to the package directions. drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. once the porcinis are softened, start making the sauce (it's ok if the pasta is still cooking, it will take a few minutes to make the sauce). coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. place over medium heat. add the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic and saute for about five minutes.
  3. stir in porcini, sherry, and season with salt and pepper. cook for one minute, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates.
  4. stir in the pasta, reserved porcini liquid, reserved pasta cooking liquid, grated parmesan, and cream. toss well to combine. to serve, top each with additional parmesan cheese.

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