For many, mushrooms aren't necessarily a top-of-mind source of inspiration when it comes to putting together a quick dinner. But we always keep a couple baskets of fresh shiitake's around because they are so versatile, whether as a crispy addition to a cheese and charcuterie spread, or in a pasta sauce.
If you follow my instagram stories, you probably know there are various versions of this featured recipe (because Joe kinda improvises a little almost every time he cooks). He says his cooking is not classical, but more like jazz, where everything comes together as you go to form not only a good meal, but also a new experience.
I've convinced him to set this one to pen and paper though... but feel free to follow your own tune and improvise if you're feeling it!
If you have a little more time, try Joe's fresh pasta recipe!
Makes 6 Servings
One cup of olive oil.
One garlic bulb.
Shiitake mushrooms (two small baskets- about 10 oz. total).
Half a pint of heavy cream.
12 basil leaves.
1/4 cup pine nuts (raw or toasted - salted or not).
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano.
3 large balls of buratta cheese. (You can also substitute Stracciatella cheese which comes in a small tub and is basically the same as the inside of a ball of burrata.)
Set a pot of lightly salted water to heat on the stove for the pasta.
Roughly chop a bulb of garlic.
Slice up (about 1/8" thick) the mushrooms.
Chop the basil.
The water should be boiling about now. ADD THE PASTA TO THE WATER. The sauce should take about the same amount of time to cook.
Pour olive oil into a sauce pan until the bottom is generously covered.
Heat to fry temperature.
Add garlic into the hot oil, stir, turn down heat to medium.
As the garlic begins to turn golden, stir in the mushrooms and pine nuts.
Add a pinch of salt. (maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
Turn the heat down a bit (medium-low). Enough to keep things sizzling, but not burn.
Stir frequently, making sure the mushroom toss around to crisp a little. Don't obsess about "flipping" them evenly, just make sure they get a little crispiness.
Add in about 1/2 of the grated pecorino romano and stir.
You may notice the pine nuts browning a little, which is good. Just don't let them burn.
Once everything looks to be at the right amount of crispy golden-brown, add the cream and stir until it blends evenly with the olive oil.
Reduce heat to low and stir constantly (you don't want the oil and cream to separate, so keep an eye on it).
Chop the basil and stir half of it into to sauce.
The sauce should begin to thicken. Keep stirring on very low heat.
Total cook time should be about 8 or 9 minutes and should coincide with the pasta being ready for straining.
Strain pasta thoroughly - do not rinse.
Add directly to the sauce pan and toss thoroughly. This is best for getting all the flavor AND, if you place the pan onto a nice, wooden cutting board for serving, it avoids more dishes to wash).
PLATING THE PASTA
Cut the burrata balls in half and scoop out the creamy filling (stracciatella). Spoon it onto each serving plate into a flat circle of about 6" in diameter.
Using tongs (or two cooking spoons), gently place the pasta onto the patch of burrata.
A good technique is to let the pasta hang above the plate and slowly lower it into the center, letting in naturally sprawl out as it piles.
Garnish with the rest of the freshly chopped basil.