this dinner was an elegant combination of the results of a food-related, dinner based, free association game* and a vision in my minds eye. my cohort had just yelled ‘pine nuts’ and ‘magnesium’. so i had a lot of thinking to do because i was less after dietary requirements and more focused on the aesthetic qualities of the meal. pasta is quick which seems so often to be the only factor under consideration so pasta it was. i had to use radicchio because i had a bee in my bee-ridden bonnet (other bees include banana bread…coming soon to a post near you). the worst supermarket in the world for some reason had a vast selection of wild mushrooms, the likes of which i had never before seen (in this barren culinary landscape) and which, im told are a high source of protein. i dont do science so protein and magnesium sounded the same…in as much as they made equally little sense to me and were of equally little importance to my artistic vision. spinach too was, according to the world wide web, rich in magnesium and green always looks pretty so i was home and hosed with robbie buck. (all for you snow). and so it was, mushroom radicchio and spinach fettuccine. pretty and magnesium heavy.
*game not suitable for children or those lacking intuition where food is concerned. it takes place often unintentionally during negotiations relating to the making and eating of dinner during which seemingly arbitrary food related words get yelled out. (in our case with its strange specificity it often starts with couscous and ends in pine nuts.)
5g dried porcini
few tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
couple spoons of chopped oregano
500g mixed mushrooms
half radicchio roughly chopped
couple handfuls spinach
couple handfuls parmigiano-reggiano finely grated
first put porcini in 125ml boiling water and set aside to reconstitute. cook the pasta in a large pan full of boiling water. nigella once said that the water you salt pasta in should be as salty as the mediterranean. thought she didnt say it, the italians did. but its a nice analogy and she delivered it well.
heat oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms. try not to crowd the pan…if its too full it will steam and not fry so if you have, as you always have, gone too far, try doing mushrooms in batches. when the mushrooms start cooking down add the garlic, season with salt and pepper and add the oregano.
add cream and stir. then add the porcini and soaking liquid and simmer so that it reduces by half. add in the spinach and cook til just wilted.
drain pasta and toss through the mushrooms. add the radicchio and parmesan. scatter with pine nuts too if you are so inclined.