Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pasta with mushroom-whisky sauce ON FIRE!

The mushroom season is in full bloom, 
and I still haven't posted our favorite mushroom recipe of all time, yet. 
But this is about to change... 

Forest in Schorfheide/Barnim near Berlin - photo by Beau Lark

Wil and I came up with the idea to this recipe cause we wanted to do something different than just mushroom risotto. So we decided to make pasta with a delicious self-created mushroom sauce you cannot go wrong with. The top-components for cooking mushrooms are definitely rosemary, onions, pepper and (smoked wooly pig-)bacon, and guess what: you can find all of these in this wonderful dish! Plus cream, whisky (WHISKY!) and balsamico-date essence. 

Me and the Steinpilz (Porcini) - photo by Beau Lark

Our harvest: Chanterelles, Porcini, Slippery Jack and Bay Boletes

We picked the mushrooms ourselves (I even found a pretty neat looking porcini!), and took tomatoes and rosemary from our little vegetable garden. The wooly pig bacon was from a small local market and the balsamico-date essence was a gift my best friend Kirsten gave to me a while ago.

Cooking at Anna and Beau's - photo by Beau Lark

What you need for a maximum of 4 people:

500g pasta (fussili, penne...)
400-500g mushrooms (about 2 cups, or a small basket, e.g. chanterelles and/or porcinis)
200g-250g bacon cubes/bits (for example from happy wooly pigs...the smokier the better!)
200g cream
3-4 twigs of rosemary, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
(a handful cherry tomatos, halved)
3-4cl whisky (same as with the bacon: the smokier the better e.g. a nice Bourbon)
1 Tbsp balsamico-date essence
4 Tbsp parmesan, freshly grated 

Ceaning and cutting the mushrooms - photo by Beau Lark

Clean the mushrooms by brushing them gently to remove the dirt. Do not wash them! Otherwise they'll lose their aroma. If too big cut the mushrooms into slices or smaller pieces. 

Wil cutting wooly pig bacon - photo by Beau Lark

Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp, remove from pan and set aside. 
Sautee the onions and garlic in the remaining bacon fat until translucent and golden. 
 Add the bacon, mushrooms sautee all-together for a minute or two on medium heat. 

Right before the fire action - photo by Beau Lark

Turn up to maxium heat, add the whisky and carefully 
with a lighter or long match set the whisky on fire. 
Flambé until the fire goes off (after about a minute or so). 

Rosemary and tomatoes - photo by Beau Lark

Add cherry tomatoes and rosemary, let the sauce simmer for another two minutes. 
Add the cream and the balsamico-date essence. 
Let it reduce for a few minutes. 
In the meantime cook the  pasta in boiling water with salt until al dente 
(9-12 minutes, depending on what the packaging says). 
Season the sauce with pepper and salt, if required 
(careful, the bacon and parmesan are already salty).
Dish up the pasta and pour the mushroom whisky cream sauce over it. 
Sprinkle with parmesan. 



  • If you don not have balsamico-date essence, you can use a  plain balsamico essence or balsamico vinegar mixed with maple syrup, honey or brown sugar, instead. 
  • This sauce is also good with a nice piece of meat (deer or beef). 
  • I tried to write down the measurements as exact as possible, which isn't that easy, cause you can pretty much vary everything. Add more or less rosemary, garlic or balsamico-date essence, use more pasta, less mushrooms...whatever you want. It is really hard to ruin this one! 

Bon apetit.

Special thanks to Beau Lark for taking all these wonderful pictures I didn't take...

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