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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Milan: Mushroom, Pine Nut Rotondo with Pesto Parmesan Froth

Served with a small mesclun salad and pepper Parmesan tuile
This is a 2nd take on the mushroom pasta recipe from the last post mushroom tagliatelle.  It has a few more steps but is not overly complicated.  It's great as a weekend meal when you have more time in the kitchen to enjoy the whole creative cooking process.  

Note:  The frothy sauce for this recipe is just a basic sauce which is whipped just before serving.  This allows you to keep the sauce light but give it a little more texture.  The cream (fat) ensures that it will stay frothed a little while, but it does not last long so it has to be done right before serving. 

You will need:  Makes 12 smalls mushroom rolls enough for 3 - 4 people

1.  Prepare the mushroom duxelle first:
  • 1 shallot (30g) finely diced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 300 g (about 11oz) of button mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (use a food processor for this and pulse until you get nice even pieces)
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 2 tbsp if toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped (heat them in a non stick pan until they begin to color)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat;
  2. Add the shallot and sauté gently for about 2 minutes (no color);
  3. Add the diced mushroom and cook to release the water (about 8 minutes);
  4. Add the white wine and let it cook off almost completely;
  5. Add the pine nuts and season to taste;
  6. Set aside
     Time investment:  20 minutes

2.  Next, prepare the Mornay sauce (a béchamel with cheese) :
  • 30 g (2tbsp) butter;
  • 30g (3 tbsp) flour;
  • 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) cold milk;
  • 15 - 20 g (1/4 cup) of freshly grated Parmesan
  • grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat;
  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute;
  3. Add the cold milk and keep stirring until it come to a boil and begins to thicken;
  4. Add the grated Parmesan;
  5. Add the nutmeg and season;
  6. Set aside to cool slightly;
     Time investment:  10 minutes

3.  Now you can prepare the pasta:
  • You will need 6 sheets of fresh pasta that are about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide
          Note:  if you do not have fresh pasta sheets, you can use lasagna noodles that, once cooked, can be cut in half lengthwise and set side by side to create a longer sheet (this works just as well).
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;
  2. Add a few drops of olive oil (to prevent the noodles from sticking together);
  3. Cook the noodles in batches of 3 until they are the texture you like (they should be fully cooked here as they will only be gently reheated when you are ready to serve);
  4. Drain, and set each cooked noodle sheet on a clean dish towel to drain off extra moisture;
  5. You can now assemble the pasta by spooning a thin layer of Mornay sauce over the entire sheet;
  6. Cover the sauce with the mushroom duxelle;
  7. Roll the pasta and cut each one in half. Place on a parchment paper lined tray;
  8. Cover the pasta with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying.
  9. At this point, the rolls can be frozen or refrigerated until you are ready to serve them.
     Time investment:  20 minutes

4.  Now for the fresh pesto:
  • 50 g (about 1/4 cup) of toasted pine nuts
  • 30 g (1 cup well packed) of fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) of olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Place the basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan in a food processor or blender;
  2. Start mixing and slowly add the olive oil as the blade is turning (add more olive oil if the ingredients still seem too dry and are not blending properly);
  3. Season;
  4. Can be kept in the refrigeration in an airtight container for one week;

5.  For the pepper Parmesan tuiles 
  • 15ml/g (1 tbsp) of melted unsalted butter
  • 5 g (1 tsp)  of sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 15 g (1 1/2 tbsp) of flour
  • salt, fresh ground pepper, grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 160° (320°F);
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for 5 minutes;
  3. Spread a small layer of batter in the shape you would like on a parchment lined baking sheet;
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes or until they begin to color;
  6. Let them cool and gently lift from the parchment paper with a knife.
  7. Can be kept in an airtight container for one day.
     Time Investment:  15 minutes
Make sure to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or it will be difficult to remove the tuiles

6.  Finally for the Parmesan, pesto froth 
     (a froth/foam is a light sauce that is whipped just before serving to incorporate air and volume):
  • 1 shallot (30 g) finely diced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) of fresh pesto
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cream
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) of freshly grated Parmesan
  1. In a saucepan, sauté the shallot in the olive oil over medium heat for about 1 minute;
  2. Add the pesto, chicken stock and cream and Parmesan and simmer until reduced by half.
  3. Keep warm and just before serving, use a plunging hand mixer or blender to whip the sauce and incorporate air.
  4. If you want to just serve it as a sauce, you can thicken it a little by diluting a tsp of cornstarch in a little water and adding it to the simmering sauce.
      Time investment:  20 minutes

7.  Plating and serving
  1. Gently heat the pasta rolls in a low oven keeping them well covered so that they do not dry out;
  2. Whip the sauce just before serving to create the frothy effect;
  3. Prepare a small mesclun salad with salt, pepper, a drizzle of hazelnut oil and some balsamic vinegar.

      Total time investment for the recipe:  about 1 1/2 hours

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