Looking for something to do with those leftover noodles in your fridge? A unique way to reheat them is by lightly pan-frying the noodles in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil until crispy on both sides, a spaghetti pancake of sorts. I added some fresh herbs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the noodles before frying. The noodles take on an interesting nutty flavor when toasted. And who doesn’t like bits of crisp, browned cheese? Paired with an earthy mushroom ragù and I have but one word — umami.
More on the ragù …the mushrooms were slowly cooked down in a porcini and red wine broth, along with fresh herbs — rosemary and thyme. Dried porcini mushrooms are reconstituted in water, producing a aromatic nutty-woodsy, mushroomy tasting broth. The mushrooms and onions (or shallots) caramelize and brown. Periodically, the small bits that stick to the bottom are scraped up; those small bits lend a tremendous amount of flavor to the dish. There is a nice contrast of textures between the crispy noodles and the ragù . The ragù tastes like it took hours to come together, though, in reality, you only need about 30 minutes to develop these rich, earthy, delicious flavors.
This is coming from a former mushroom hater. Now I can’t get enough of them; guess it’s all in the preparation. Love-em!
You can use any combination of your favorite mushrooms. I used portobello and cremini for this preparation, but you could easily substitute shiitake, maitake, oyster, trumpet…
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (or 3-4 shallots), finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed to a pulp with a little sea salt
2 pounds assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine (alternatively Sherry, Marsala, or Madiera)
2 cups mushroom broth (from reconstituted porcinis)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain, removing as much liquid as possible. Set the mushroom broth aside. Roughly chop the porcini mushrooms.
Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sliced mushrooms, a large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour, stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the dried mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and cook 5 minutes, scraping the bits of mushroom and onion from the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of mushroom stock and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, adding more broth (or water) as needed, scraping any bits that stick to the bottom. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon the mushroom ragù over the crispy pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Note: Instead of frying the pasta, serve the mushroom ragù over freshly cooked pasta or over creamy or baked polenta.
Crispy Pasta “Cake”
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
Grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Pecorino
Chopped herbs, such as rosemary or thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente and drain well. Toss with a little olive oil, grated cheese and freshly chopped herbs.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 9-10 inch nonstick pan. Divide the pasta into four portions. When the oil is hot, add one portion of the pasta to the pan. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and fry until the other side is lightly browned.