As I’m walking into our local grocery store, the Euro Spin, AKA “The Spin”, an elderly, hunched over lady is staggering out of the store lugging a massive flat of white mushrooms.
Of course, I’m thinking, “What the hell is she going to do with all those mushrooms??”
I cruise into the produce section, which in Italy is still front and center in most grocery stores and is at least 95% untouched, unsliced, unadulterated produce, and I see a wall of mushrooms.
They are selling whole flats of gorgeous, fresh white mushrooms for 2,50 euro (or about $4 US bucks). They are practically giving them away!
Holey camoley, now I know why that lady bought so many mushrooms and we’re buying them too. I bring the flat to our grocery cart, and Jeff gives me the raised eyebrow, what-are-you-doing-now look. I tell him the price and he makes a secure spot for the flat in our grocery cart. And, that’s one of the reasons why I love him.
Then we get home and I realize this is really A LOT of mushrooms. So the first thing I do, is bag some up for our Orto-Mates. And that still leaves me with 5 or 6 pounds of mushrooms.
It’s another use it or lose it moment, so I start cleaning mushrooms. I cut the spongy stems off, cube the mushrooms into chunky quarters, go harvest a pile of parsley from the orto, slice up a head or so of garlic and toss everything into a very large pot with equal parts butter and olive oil. And the house smells wonderful!
Here’s the recipe scaled down to a 2 to 4 person serving.
1/2 lb or 500g mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 glug of wine
1 3 finger pinch of bread crumbs
lemon juice, 1/2 half of a juicy fresh lemon
Melt the butter in a saute pan big enough to hold the mushrooms in only one or two layers. Add the olive oil and over medium heat add the mushrooms, sliced garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Cover the pan and let the mushrooms release their juice. Stir frequently.
When the mushroom pan is full of juice, uncover the pan and add a good glug of white wine. Cook until all the moisture is gone. This will take about 15 minutes.
The mushrooms will turn a deep, golden brown. Right before serving the mushrooms, generously pepper them, add the minced garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and finish with the juice of half a lemon. Cook for no more than one minute and serve with a smile.
You can serve these as a side dish with roasted pork, or chicken or use as a pasta sauce.
If you are using them in pasta: about a minute before the pasta is cooked, spoon a ladle full of the salted pasta water into the pot. Drain the pasta and add to the mushroom sauce pot. Cook until the pasta is done and the cooking liquid has been absorbed. Serve with some extra olive oil and grated cheese on the side.
PS I went back to the Spin the next week, and there wasn’t a mushroom in sight.
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