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Are We Having Fungi Now?


My husband used to call mushrooms little sponges because he thought they soaked up the flavor of whatever they're cooked with, without having a whole lot of flavor themselves. But that was before he was introduced to the intoxicating array of specialty mushrooms that are now widely available.

This recipe for rigatoni makes great use of these mushrooms; you can use chanterelles, portabellos, criminis--whatever looks good at your local market. And because the sauce is mostly mushrooms, you get that wonderful earthy flavor without a lot of fuss.

Add a salad of spring greens dressed in a little very good olive oil and a splash of vinegar and a loaf of bread and you've got a meal that is guaranteed not to be the least bit spongy.

Mushroom Rigatoni

Tossed Green Salad

French Bread

Mushroom Rigatoni

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 large shallot, minced

3/4 pound assorted specialty mushrooms, halved or quartered

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can vegetable broth

2 tablespoons whipping cream

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

Salt and pepper

1 pound rigatoni

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

* Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until they have released their moisture and begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth and cook until slightly reduced, 5 to 6 minutes. Add cream and cook 2 minutes. Stir in parsley. Add salt and pepper.

* While making sauce, cook rigatoni in plenty of rapidly boiling, lightly salted water until tender but firm, about 12 minutes. Combine pasta and sauce, top with cheese.

4 servings. Each serving: 364 calories; 828 mg sodium; 35 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 0.79 gram fiber.



Vegetable broth



Olive oil





Red wine vinegar or lemon juice

Shopping List


3/4 pound specialty mushrooms

1/4 pound Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 pound mixed salad greens


30 minutes before: Start boiling water for pasta; mince shallot and parsley.

25 minutes before: Wipe mushrooms clean and either halve or quarter them.

20 minutes before: Begin making mushroom sauce.

15 minutes before: Put pasta in boiling water.

5 minutes before: Dress greens.

Serving time: Combine pasta and sauce and top with cheese.

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