After over a month-long cooking and blogging hiatus I am back and full of recipe ideas!  I also have a brand new camera, so you’ll finally be getting some higher-res pictures!  And maybe at some point I’ll work on my photography skills too…

Onwards to today’s post!

We hit up the farmer’s market on Saturday and got a whole bunch of delicious fall ingredients which will be turning up in my posts as the week goes on.  Acorn squash, turnips, leeks, serrano chilies, and some really fabulous looking oyster mushrooms, which are the subject of today’s recipe.

Cheesy mushroom and leek pasta

Never having cooked with oyster mushrooms before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect flavor-wise, so I decided to make a cheesy cream sauce with leeks and the mushrooms and serve it over pasta.  I started by sauteing (did I spell that right?  I never know…) the mushrooms and leeks in some butter with a bit of salt and pepper.  When the leeks started getting soft, I took the pan off the heat, dumped the leeks and mushrooms in a bowl, and then added another tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of flour to the same pan to start the base of the sauce.  (aka a roux.  I watch too many cooking shows.)  Once it was all melted and combined I added 3/4c of milk and started stirring to get all the lumps out.  Once it just started to bubble, I reduced the heat and simmered it, still stirring, until it thickened up.  Then I added the leeks and mushrooms back in, added some fresh mozzarella, some freshly grated parmesan, some more salt and pepper, and it was good to go!

mushrooms and leeks

sauce!

I have to say, it turned out well, but in retrospect oyster mushrooms were probably not the best choice for this dish.  Their flavor is so mild that they kind of get lost, even under the super mild flavors of leeks and cheese.  You’d probably be better off using mushrooms that are a big more…mushroom-y like criminis or even some bunapi shimeji.

But without further ado, the recipe:

Cheesy Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks
(serves 2)

  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms; whatever kind you like best
  • 1 leek
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 3/4c milk
  • fresh mozzarella
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 110g pasta of your choice
Put a pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta.  Meanwhile, split the leek lengthwise and then wash it thoroughly to get all the grit out from between the layers.  Give your mushrooms a quick rinse too, and then dice them and the leek.  Heat up a medium pan on the stove and add 1/2 tbsp of butter.  When the pan is hot and the butter is melted, toss in the leeks and mushrooms, add a bit of salt and pepper, and saute over medium heat until the leeks just start to soften a bit.  Transfer the leeks and mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan you’ve been using, add the remaining tablespoon of butter along with the tablespoon of flour.  Stir over medium heat until the butter and flour are fully incorporated, and then add the milk.  Stir the mixture as you bring it to a boil to get all the lumps out.  Once it starts to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer it til it thickens, still stirring so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Once the sauce is thickened, add the leeks and mushrooms back in, along with some fresh mozzarella (as much or as little as you want.  Also, make sure the mozzarella isn’t *too* fresh–you want it to have some flavor to it.), some freshly grated parmesan, and more salt and pepper.  Stir together over low heat until the mozzarella is melted and then toss it together with your pasta, serve, and enjoy!
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