Pappardelle with Mushrooms

Pappardelle with Mushrooms
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Pappardelle and mushrooms
Make this tonight! You will NOT regret it!

Do you like mushrooms? If so, you’re going to want to stop reading right after the ingredients list and head to the store so you can make this tonight. Really. Do it. You will not be disappointed.

After a bit of confusion at the public library, we finally got hold of their only copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. We really requested it on a whim; we thought, sure, it’ll be fun to look through, but all the recipes will be way too complex, or they’ll have ingredients we can never find, and techniques that are almost impossible to pull off in anything less than a professional kitchen. We were wrong. Instead, most the recipes seem pretty accessible to the home cook with just a bit of patience, one of the — at least — three Ps of cooking or baking, the others being practice and product (ingredients). Looking through the book, we saw that we had most of the ingredients for today’s dish, but we did modify it a bit to match what we had in the house.

Serves 2 as a large main.

Pappardelle with Mushrooms

Pappardelle with Mushrooms


  • 1 batch basic pasta dough, cut into 1-inch by 1 1/2 inch strips,
  • Canola oil
  • 8 ounces Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 ounce each dried porcini and shitake mushrooms
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mild onion, finely minced
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Abbreviated Instructions

Rehydrate mushrooms in 1 cup liquid, drain, reserving liquid and cut into pieces.

Wash Crimini mushrooms and cut or slice into pieces.

Heat canola oil over medium heat in a large skillet until very hot, but not smoking.

Add about 1/2 the mushrooms in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Return all mushrooms to the pan. Add onions and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and cook until mushrooms are glazed, about 2 minutes.

Add reserved mushroom broth, bring to a simmer, and whisk in remaining butter.

Add vinegar and remove from heat.

Boil pasta, drain, and add to the mushrooms.

Serve immediately, topping with Parmesan cheese.

Ingredient discussion:

The original recipe called for a pound of fresh wild mushrooms. We had to go with dried, but it was still a superb dish. Whatever you choose, make sure the mushrooms are a variety that have a lot of flavor. If you do use fresh, you’ll need about a cup of vegetable broth in place of the reserved mushroom liquid. For the onion, we went with a mild, sweet onion, a Glendale Little Gold Sweetie, to be exact. The original recipe called for shallots, which we almost never have in the house. For Parmesan cheese, get the best, and that means avoid “the green can.”

Procedure in detail:

mise en place
This recipe goes pretty fast, so doing prep work will make it go smoothly.

Mise en Place. This recipe comes together pretty quickly, so we really suggest that you have everything ready as much as possible. Chop the onions, the mushrooms, and even get the pasta water boiling before you start. That way, it’s available right when you need it. It really helps.



draining mushrooms
Take the time to make sure no grit remains from the rehydrated mushrooms. Why ruin someone’s experience with a bit a sand to save just a couple of minutes?

Drain mushrooms. Sometimes the dried mushrooms have a bit of grit in them, so we’ll drain them through a coffee filter placed in a funnel to eliminate the grit in the broth, and then rinse each mushroom under running water to eliminate any remaining grit. It’s disconcerting to bite into a small piece of sand while dining.


Heat oil. Here’s the secret to this dish, or at least one of the secrets. Heat your canola oil on medium heat until it is very hot. You want it almost to the point where it smokes, so your mushrooms will brown and seal in some of their juices.

sauteing mushrooms
Don’t stir! We know it’s tempting, but don’t do it!

Sauté mushrooms. You want to do this in two batches. Again, this is so the mushrooms brown, sealing in their juices, but don’t boil in the juices that leak out. So, toss in about 1/2 of the mushrooms, making sure they’re in a single layer. Let them sauté, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, our until they’ve browned. Then, shake them around, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

sauteing mushrroms
After a few minutes, you can stir, but just a bit. Don’t overdo it!




Transfer the first half of the mushrooms to a bowl. If you like mushrooms, you’ll want to sneak one, but don’t; you’ll want every last mushroom in the broth.

Season. Season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. Now, cook the remaining mushrooms in the same fashion, adding more oil if necessary.



adding onions
Put all the mushrooms back in the pan and add onions, cooking until they’re tender. Now you can stir.

Add onion. Return all the mushrooms to the skillet, and immediately add the onions. Sauté these over medium heat until they’re tender. It will take only a minute or two.



adding butter
Toss in half the butter, but do it in four pieces, so it’ll melt fast, and not form a pool of butter in which only a few mushrooms can luxuriate.

Add butter. Drop 2 tablespoons of butter into the pan in four pieces. Stir and cook, still over medium heat, until the mushrooms are glazed and shiny.



adding broth
If you used only fresh wild mushrooms, we’re jealous, and you’ll have to use a cup of vegetable broth; otherwise, use the reserved mushroom broth.

Add broth. Stir in the reserved mushroom broth and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, again in four pieces so it melts rapidly, and whisk until emulsified. We had no problem doing that, even with a wooden spoon. However, if you have problems with the oil and broth staying separate, the original instructions suggest adding a tablespoon or two of water.

adding more butter
Again, toss in the butter in a few pieces so that it melts quickly. Stir it in until emulsified. Use a whisk, if need be.

Add vinegar. Stir in the red wine vinegar and remove from heat.

tossing in pasta
Finish by tossing everything together with the fresh, hot, pasta. Our skillet was large enough to hold everything, but you could put it all into a large bowl and serve it family style.

Add pasta. Now, stir in the cooked pasta. Even though we didn’t say so in the instructions, you should have cooked the pasta while you were sautéing the mushrooms, so that pasta and the mushrooms would be done at the same time. Using freshly scratched pasta really helps, since it cooks so rapidly. And, the pappardelle shapes are just about the easiest shape to deal with, too.



Pappardelle and mushrooms
Pappardelle and mushrooms is just wonderful!

Serve. Transfer to shallow bowls, and top with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

We both loved this dish. It’s really a great dinner, fairly simple to put together, yet full of flavors and textures, that made us just gobble it down and wish for more, even though we were quite full. We’ve already discussed making this one again, thinking that it might be a possibility for an upcoming family get-together/vacation, partly because it’s so fast to put together, and because it’s so satisfying. While it’s unlikely that we’ll eat at one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, we can at least say that we’ve had one of his dishes, and now understand why so many people flock there to eat. Easily five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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