April 5, 2007

Portobello Mushroom Pesto

I really want to love mushrooms. I love their earthy flavor and I enjoy them mixed into other dishes, I just don’t really love their texture. For instance, I love creamy mushroom soup or mushrooms in a sauce over a nice steak, but it’s hard for me to handle big chunky mushrooms anywhere else. It’s too bad, really, since I love their punch of flavor.

But then I was told about this recipe for mushroom pesto, and I have to admit, it’s my new favorite meal. Talk about a totally delicious dish, whether it’s for a busy weeknight or for entertaining (especially for vegetarian friends - this is one that impresses!) Pair this deliciously rich pasta with a salad, a glass of wine, and a killer dessert and you've got a damn fine meal; just be sure to invite me over, please!

I especially love the pairing of the Portobello mushrooms and sherry. It has a very rich taste, almost as if it has cream in it, but I think that comes from the pureed pine nuts and cheese. We made some generous adjustments to the amounts and were very pleased with the results. The original recipe calls for white button mushrooms, but the portobellos gave it much more flavor, I’m sure. I might like to try some basil next time, not just the parsley, but this was utterly delicious as written. I hope you’ll try it soon – I know I’ll be making again tout de suite. It reheats beautifully, too. I just love it when a recipe surprises me like this one did!

Penne with Mushroom Pesto
(adapted from Epicurious.com)

10-12 oz Portobello or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped in food processor
4 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup medium-dry sherry
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup parmesan
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup fresh parsley
¾ lb penne rigate pasta, or other tubular pasta

Chop the mushrooms finely in the food processor (or a knife). Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a wide non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, sherry, worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Sauté until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to the food processor. Add the garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, parsley and the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil. Pulse until the pesto comes together and everything is finely minced. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed.

The pesto keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week if you cover it with plastic wrap pressed to the surface. Cook ¾ -1 lb pasta (depending on how saucy you like your pasta) until al dente and toss with the pesto and 2/3 cup hot pasta water. Serve with additional parsley and parmesan.

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Night over at Once Upon a Feast. Go check out the other quick pasta dishes for weeknight inspiration!


Deborah Dowd said...

This looks great and really appealing since lately tomato-based sauces haven't really grabbed me... and congratulations on you BOB!

Adam said...

As a mushroom lover married to a mushroom skeptic, this just may be the recipe to get her to come to my side! Thanks for the recipe, and best of luck on the blog awards... we've been voting for you!

Shelly said...

I use to hate mushrooms...just because of the texture...then one day I had chicken marsala...of all places at a chain resturant (Carabas). OH SWEET HEAVEN, I have been all about the mushroom ever since. Amazing how a little wine sauce can cure anything. ;)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow! Sorry you don't like the texture of mushrooms; I love them all ways. Still, this is an excellent solution and looks divine. I would sure go for the portobellos over the buttons.

s'kat said...

As an avowed mushroom-lover, this looks just killer!

Also, you should submit this to presto pasta nights: http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com/

Megan said...

Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy the recipe - I know you will =) It's SO good!

Tea said...

I'm a mushroom lover as well, but so many of my friends hate the little buggers. Maybe I can make some converts...

Betty C. said...

This looks like an excellent and original school-night supper. Cheers!

Katie said...

Finally, someone else who admits to 'love the taste/hate the texture' mushroom thing.
This looks perfect for me!
Plus I love anything with sherry!

Ruth Daniels said...

What a fabulous dish. I love mushrooms - you never have to hide them from me, but I do enjoy them all chopped up. They give such a powerful punch to any dish.

Can't wait to try it and thanks for contributing to Presto Pasta Nights. Hope to see you there often.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those pasta look gorgeous! Nothing's better than mushrooms with parmesan...

Nick said...

Substitute portabello mushrooms with sauted ceps (I collect wild fungi, dry, freeze, make antipasto, my own pestos, sauces etc)for a really deep & earthy flavour of Italy.
Nick, Hampshire England