Tagliatelle with Shiitake Mushrooms and Asparagus


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Wolfgang Puck My mushroom essence, which you can prepare well in advance, has such a rich taste that just a few spoonfuls make a big impression upon four servings of pasta. The rest of the essence refrigerates or freezes well, ready for another batch of pasta or to enrich sauces for meat or poultry. So get ready, get set, and go foraging for mushrooms - in your market.

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  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. each finely diced carrot, celery, and onion
  • 2 tsp. minced shallot
  • 1 C. dry white wine
  • 1 C. canned good-quality chicken broth
  • 1/4 C. heavy cream
  • Pinch minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 heaping Tbs. minced shallot
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 C. good quality canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 3/4 lb. dried tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
  • 16 medium asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil leaves

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At least 1 hour before serving, or up to 1 month ahead, make the Mushroom Essence. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, carrot, celery, onion and shallot and saute, stirring constantly, 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to medium, add the wine, and cook until no excess liquid remains, about 10 minutes.

Add the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 1/4 C. liquid remains, about 8 minutes more. Stir in the cream, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Set the mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside; or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month. About 30 minutes before serving time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, make the Mushroom Sauce: In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat, stir in the shallot, garlic and butter, and continue cooking just until the butter melts completely. Stir in the broth and 3 Tbs. of the Mushroom Essence. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cook gently for 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, put the tagliatelle or fettuccine into the boiling water. Cook until tender but still slightly chewy, following the manufacturer's suggested cooking time. About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus pieces to the water. Pour the pasta and asparagus into a colander to drain. Add them to the sauce and gently toss to coat well. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Evenly divide the pasta, mushrooms, asparagus and sauce among 4 large heated serving plates, arranging some of the asparagus tips and mushroom slices attractively on top. Garnish with parsley and basil and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Also, chef Wolfgang Puck's latest cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy, is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)



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