We have new food-porn! Simon Hopkinson [wiki] has a show that is playing here on Friday nights on ABC called The Good Cook. I have not really followed him that much. His style homely and simple. The show is filled with stunning videography including tilt-shift and the Matrix effect, in fact they can seem overdone. He also his great little segments explaining where the ingredients come from and how they are prepared.
So Simon introduced me to dried porcini mushrooms. I have seen them round but never really knew how to cook them, and would steer towards fresh mushrooms. I have been missing out. Porcini have a meaty (in a good way) smell and are filled with glutamates, and have a sweet flavour.
I am a kitchen gadget collector, I think I get this from mum who’s kitchen benchtops have and electric grater, steamer and juicer and drawers are filled with little time-saving devices. This recipe calls for a lot of stirring which means I can use my auto-stirrer. I picked this up from Walgreens in Racine, Wisconsin earlier this year. Walgreens have this cheesy as-seen-on-tv section filled with crappy gadgets and I was a sucker for this (and a set of talking Jersey Shore pens). The auto-stirrer is basically a whisk-like attachment with a vibrator attached. It works a charm, see the video below.
1 litre whole milk
40g dried porcini mushrooms
50g plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g pappardelle pasta
10 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
Warm the milk in a large pan until it just starts to simmer. Add the dried porcini and remove from the heat. Allow infuse for 10 minutes while you wash the pan. Strain the milk through a sieve into a bowl, using the back of a ladle to extract all the liquid. Set the mushrooms aside.
Make the sauce by melting the butter in the large pan, then stir in the flour and continue stirring over a low heat for 3 minutes. Pour the porcini-infused milk onto the roux in the pan and whisk vigorously until smooth. Continue cooking over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. (auto-strirrer worked a treat) Lightly season with salt and pepper and set aside (I kept stirring with the auto-stirrer to stop a skin forming or you could cover the surface with clingfilm).
Meanwhile, cook the pasta and lightly fry the pancetta in a small pan. Drain the pasta and combine well with the sauce, pancetta and porcini.
Butter an oven-proof dish and pour in the pasta mix. Sprinkle plenty of grated Parmesan over the top and bake for 30–40 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve piping hot.