I love eating pasta. And I love eating pasta in France, because they do Italian with such French flare. Ratatouille over rigatoni. Roquefort cream sauce over ribbons of pappardelle. Brick-red pistou slathered on spaghetti. It's just so good, and somehow, so French!
This pasta dish is sort of a giant mushroom duxelles piled on top of fettuccine. I always write that crème fraîche is a magic ingredient (and it's even more magic when you can make it in one easy step!), because it just refuses to separate. You can do anything to it, and it's completely resilient.
Throw some mushrooms in this dish and you have an instant cream sauce, full of woodland flavors with the shallots, garlic, and thyme, that wraps itself around the expectant pasta. I love this dish because it's earthy and easy. Perfect as a side next to some seared and sliced steak. Or on its own with a drizzle of truffle oil.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.
- 1/2 cup low-sodium organic chicken stock
- 1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into eighths
- 1 extra large shallot, minced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspons fresh picked thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound dry fettuccine
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small covered pot, heat the stock and dried mushrooms together over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. In a large, high-sided braising pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add the cremini mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently until the shallot is soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the reconstituted dried mushrooms from the stock. Add the stock to the fresh mushrooms and shallots, and cook until almost absorbed, 1 minute. Turn off the heat, and cover the pot.
Cook the fettuccine until al dente, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining.
In a mini food processor, blend together the reconstituted dried mushrooms and the crème fraîche. Add the mixture to the fresh sautéed mushrooms, and stir to melt the crème fraîche into a sauce. Toss in the pasta, and add just enough pasta water for the mushrooms mixture to lightly coat the strands of pasta. Toss with Parmesan, and serve alongside a sliced seared steak, or on its own with a drizzle of black truffle oil.