Black Trumpet Mushroom Capellini Pasta : Green Onions : Thai Fish Sauce : Parmesan Cheese

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I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks. I finally figured out how to log back into my account. I got locked out.  My mobile phone died and that’s never good news when you have setup 2-step-authentication “protocol” and no backup codes in your wordpress settings…. sounds pretty fancy but it was kinda nightmarish instead… and it’s no over yet. I’m trying to figure out how to update my phone number so I can use the google authentication app..etc, etc, or even better… turn that thing off… and I can’t find it anywhere. If you know, please let me know, I will be forever grateful!

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Anyways… back to the food which I guess is why we’re here, at least that’s why I am here. My recent 20 min evening quick meal kick has not yet come to an end  and tonight’s dinner is no exception. 7 ingredients and that’s including the pasta and the black pepper, this dish is packed with umami flavor. Fish sauce, parmesan cheese and mushrooms. Doesn’t get any better than this if you’re looking for earthy deep flavor and instant gratification all at the same time. Some people love chocolate. I love natural MSG and this recipe is packed with it. 

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Ingredients (serves 2):

2 cups of dried or fresh black trumpet mushrooms (I used dried)
200-300g of dry capellini pasta (any pasta you like)
2 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
4-6 green onions thinly sliced, white and green separated
4 Tbsp heavy cream
Some olive oil
Fish sauce (your favorite or try Thai) to taste

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For the capellini pasta. The pasta in the picture isn’t fresh pasta. It’s basically reconstituted pasta. Dry noodles that have been soaked in water before cooking. I usually do this when working with dry pasta. Why? because I find it useful. First, I don’t have to have a massive pot of boiling water to fit long noodles. Once the pasta is hydrated it will be soft and fit smaller pots. You can hydrate the pasta on a cookie sheet or a lasagna dish that will fit the noodles just fine. Another advantage of doing this, well… very even hydration of the noodles which helps even cooking and no sticky noodles. Another advantage… less water to boil the noodles. I use only enough water to cover them and then some. Less salt, and more starch concentration in the pasta water that will help thicken up your sauce more efficiently… should I say more? Oh, yes, it cuts the cooking time dramatically as well.  I haven’t experimented with whole wheat or gluten free pasta, so not sure the hydrating approach is suitable but only one way to find out.

Allow the noodles to soak in water while you prep the rest of the stuff, or even overnight. It doesn’t matter, once the noodles are fully hydrated, they won’t take any more water.  When ready, boil some water on a medium size pot, just enough water to cover them plus a little more. And a few pinches of salt, until the water is well seasoned and cook until al dente. About 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Reserve some of the pasta water. Keep the rest in the pot with the pasta, add some cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Continue to work on the sauce.

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For the black trumpet mushroom sauce. If you’re working with dried mushrooms then read on. Fresh mushroom users, just cook them in a little olive oil and then follow along. I like to reconstitute dried mushrooms in the microwave. I place them in a container with a little water and nuke them for a couple of minutes. The water should boil and the mushrooms should absorb some of it, but hopefully not all of it, meaning that they absorbed all the water they needed which will impact the texture. The rest is mushroom stock, do not throw away. It will all go into the sauce. Allow the mushrooms to soak in that very hot water for a few minutes.

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In a medium size skillet over medium heat, add some olive oil. Cook the green onions for a couple of minutes. Add a splash of fish sauce. Add the mushrooms and the mushroom water and reduce until almost dry. Add a few Tbsp of that pasta water that we reserved. Reduce. Add the cream and the parmesan cheese at this point and reduce until it’s thick and the creamy.

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Mixing the sauce and the pasta. Strain the pasta. Discard the liquid. Add the pasta to the saucepan and toss and mix well together. Cook for a minute or two. Adjust the consistency of the final dish, if the sauce is two dry add a little water or extra cream. If the sauce is too soupy (which I’m hoping is not the case for the pasta might become overcooked), reduce until needed. I don’t like vague instructions like this, but I find that in cooking, there’s moments for precision and there are others for approximation. Adjusting a final dish I think is about approximating the ideal result.

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For plating. Simply add the saucy pasta onto your plates. Sprinkle the green onions on top. Pepper to taste. Drizzle some olive oil on top. I added a hard boiled egg because I love eggs. Done.

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