Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Of Fungi and Sherry

I had a fabulous truffled mushroom dish at Rubicon recently, which gave the illusion of not containing truffles. The truffle is a fellow fungus, and the flavour blends exceptionally well. It doesn't shout "HELLO LOOK TRUFFLES HERE!"; rather it seemed as if the mushrooms were somehow transmogrified into super-mushrooms, powerfully flavourful, more mushroomy than ever before, capable of leaping tall buildings with a single bound and all that.

So with that in mind, the last 7g of truffle went into a creamy mushroom sauce for pasta. Mushroom, sherry, truffle, cream, garlic, egg, parmesan - brilliant. Do use good sherry, though. I'm a fan of a good sherry. You don't have to get the original from Jerez, though it's good if you can. There are several decent Australian ones for around $15-30 a bottle. If you haven't tried it before, do give it a go. This is not your Nanna's sweet cooking sherry, nor the wino's nail-polish remover-y stuff. Fino and Manzanilla are the dryest styles, Amontillado is a touch sweeter. And there are some good sweet ones, too, though the restaurant industry seems to have snapped up all the Pedro Ximénez supplies.

If you haven't any sherry, a splash of cognac will be fine instead. And while I'm at it, this is a time for proper Italian parmigiano reggiano, too. No skimping on anything. I did think of adding some Bundewarra free range ham, as this is kind of a carbonara-inspired dish, but I decided not. It would have been gilding the lily. I had a nommy ham and tomato sandwich for lunch instead.

Recipe: Truffled Mushroom Fettucine
200g small swiss brown mushrooms
5-10g black truffle
2 cloves garlic
1 tblsp butter
1 tblsp good olive oil
50 ml sherry
100 ml pouring cream
pinch salt
black pepper to taste
2 truffle-infused eggs
200g fettucine
parmesan to taste

Melt the butter with the olive oil.
Add the sliced mushrooms and finely chopped truffle.
Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the crushed garlic.
Saute for another couple of minutes, then add the sherry.
Simmer down for 5 minutes, or until almost gone, then add the cream.
Simmer down to about half volume.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the fettucine, then drain it and return it to the pan.
Add the mushroom sauce on top of the pasta.
Beat the egg in a cup.
Working quickly, toss the egg over the mushroom sauce and pasta, and mix well.
Add parmesan to individual serves at table.

Notes: Serve with real parmesan to top, and a simple green salad. You can mix the fettucini, egg and sauce in a large pre-warmed serving bowl if you want to take it to table, but we tend to serve from the pan unless there's a dinner party.

The Bloke was enthusiastic: "That's good pasta", he said, "No, that's really good pasta. Luxurious." And it was.

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