Mushroom, garlic, white wine sauce

I have not posted in quite a while, but I have been busy. I was recently in Sisters, OR and McCloud, CA to do some mushroom hunting. My friend, Eric, and I went up to Oregon to stay with his brother and hunt for morel mushrooms up in the burn from last year’s forest fires. In McCloud, at the base of Mt. Shasta, we were hunting for King Boletus (aka Porcini).

42 lbs of Boletus later, I had to get back home. Eric stayed up in McCloud and will be hunting all week. These mushrooms start to break down immediately but we were lucky insofar as finding a good amount of prized #1 grade mushrooms, and they keep longer.

Lisa had a great idea when I suggested a simple mushroom tomato sauce from heirloom tomatoes (Amish yellow tomatoes, fantastic) that I canned last year. Not feeling tomatoes, she suggested a white wine sauce.

A quick word about the mushrooms. It’s not likely that you will have fresh porcini mushrooms in your refrigerator and what is available in the market is often pricey and a few days beyond fresh. If your local market has porcini mushrooms, a few will go a long way. If you want to substitute, go with a mushroom that is earthy and will bring texture, like a shitake. There are many varieties of mushrooms that are showing up in mainstream markets that I recommend. The Japanese variety Maitake is increasingly popular and has great flavor. King Trumpet mushrooms are another variety I would recommend you try. The stem is huge and holds up well to sautéing, developing great caramelization in the process.

This recipe will be a little frustrating if you need specific instructions. I more or less winged this one, but I’m happy with the result.

1 onion, diced
3 tbs. diced garlic
olive oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 1/2 cup white wine
chicken bouillon (I use a soup base that is a paste but 1 cube crushed will do the trick here)
pinch red chili pepper
3 tbs butter

Start by sautéing the onion in the olive oil. Add the garlic when the onion is sweated out. The garlic should be added at the end of the sweat and cooked for just 30 seconds to develop flavor but not cook the garlic, which can get bitter if you keep it on the heat with the onion for a longer amount of time. Add the salt and coarse ground pepper (I like a lot of pepper, you may not.)

Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, until they start taking on some color. At this point, add the wine and reduce by half. It is also okay to add some water at this point, 1/4 cup should do it. Add the butter and chicken bouillon, heat on medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

Serve with fresh parsley on the pasta of your choice. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese is a nice finish and will add necessary salt.