zaterdag 25 januari 2014

Fall and funghi - a few suggestions for mushrooms


I can no longer maintain to love only summer. In fact, I really love autumn. That is to say, when it´s still tolerable weather because rain and storms are not my cup of tea.
I can absolutely cheer up when I see the beautiful autumn colors like yellow, red and terra but the best thing of all is the autumn food.

I have already told you about my apples, pears and grapes, but I have not mentioned the mushrooms yet. It is too bad that I don´t know very much about them, because not only in Umbria it´s nature´s gift, you can find them in every country. Unfortunately, I have to jot down another warning: never go searching for mushrooms on your own, only and only go there with a professional guide.

Let us stick to the ones you can buy at the grocery´s. They may be less tasty, but they´re also less dirty. Always look on the bright side of life.
If you can find them, buy as many varieties as you can. You could also get some dried ones, porcini (cèpes) or funghi dal bosco (from the forest).

I will give you a few recipes, but you may want to try your own. I can not think of an ingredient that is so grateful to experiment with.
A few simple tricks to make your life beautiful:
  • Don´t clean mushrooms with water. They release a lot of liquid themselves, so your dishes, especially those with sauces, may get too thin.
  • Stuffed portobello´s (large chestnut mushrooms) are very nice as a vegetarian dish, filled with  mashed potatoe or rice and e.g. leek, tomato, peperoni, carrot and cheese they can serve as a complete meal.
  • Chantarelles are summer mushrooms and taste very nice in a creamy soup
  • When I speak of mixed mushrooms, I use the simple mushrooms, shiitakes, portobello, porcini, funghi dal bosco, oyster mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms. You can buy ready made packets in every supermarket.

Funghi dal forno (mushrooms from the oven)
250 gr. mixed mushrooms
salt, pepper
olive oil
fresh thyme leaves
fresh parsley
grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Chop them into irregular pieces. If you use dried ones, soak them in lukewarm water for ten minutes and then squeeze them carefully and dry them with kitchen paper. Mix the mushrooms well.
Pour a little olive oil in an oven dish. Put the mushrooms in. Add salt, pepper and the thyme leaves.  
Season with the grated parmesan and leave it in the oven for ca. 15 minutes. Season with the parsley and serve it hot.

Variations:
  • add some chopped tomato
  • add some chopped onion or pressed garlic
  • add some spring onion or litlle rings of leek
Funghi ripieni (Filled mushrooms)
12 big mushrooms
½ tomato, chopped into real tiny pieces
1 glove of garlic, pressed
salt, peper
fresh thyme leaves
2 spoons of grated parmesan
2 spoons of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Use a sharp knife and remove the stems and a litlle from the inside of the mushrooms. Don´t throw it away, you can make a broth from them (recipe below).
Mix the tomato, the garlic, salt and pepper, thyme and parmesan. Fill the mushrooms with it, using a teaspoon. Pour the olive oil in an ovendish, put the mushrooms in and leave them in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Variation and easy version:
You can make it much easier if you use a herb-cheese like paturain instead of the stuffing I used.


Brodo di funghi (mushroom-broth)
Use the stems of ca. 250 gr. mushrooms and make a bouquet garni from thyme, sage, parsley, celery and rosemary. Put all ingredients in a pan, add water, salt and pepper. Make it boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for at least half an hour. Pour the broth through a sieve.
You can use this broth for risotto – or for all kinds of sauces or as a base for soup.





Lasagne con funghi
For the sauce:
olive oil
250 gr. mixed mushrooms (add some dried ones that you soaked and squeezed)
1 onion, chopped
1 glove of garlic, pressed
50 ml. mushroom-broth (see recipe above)
½ glass of white wine
salt, pepper
thyme or sage, chopped
bechamel – click here for the recipe or easy version, get a ready made one
300 gr. lasagne leaves
grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper and cut them into small pieces or slices. Fry the onion, the garlic and mushrooms on a middle heat until they are light brown. Lower the fire, add the broth and the wine and turn up the fire. Make it boil, let boil for about 30 seconds and then lower the fire again. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Put two spoons of bechamel in an oven dish.
  1. Add a layer of lasagne leaves
  2. cover them with some bechamel
  3. sprinkle with a few spoons of the mushroom-sauce
  4. Cover with lasagne
Repeat 1 to 4 untill everything is used, end with lasagne. Cover with a thick layer of bechamel and dust with the grated parmesan.
Cover the dish with aluminium foil and leave it in the oven for about half an hour.

Variations:
  • when you´re not a vegetarian, add some chicken or ham to the sauce
  • add some tomato to the sauce
Sformato di funghi (creamy mushrooms)
250 gr. of mixed mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, press one and cut the other one in two.
salt, pepper and fresh or dried sage
½ glass of white wine
2 dl. bechamel – click here for the recipe or get a ready made one.
grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper and cut them into not too small, irregular pieces. Fry the onion, garlic, sage and mushrooms on a middle heat until they are light brown. Add the wine, make it boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for some 15 minutes untill the liquids have evaporated. Add salt and pepper.

In the meantime, prepare the bechamel if you want to make your own. Mix the bechamel with grated parmesan.
Mix the bechamel with the mushroom-mixture. Rub a baking dish with the second garlic glove (you will not use the garlic anymore). Pour the mushroom-bchamel mix into the dish, dust it generously with parmesan and leave it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the dish is slightly colored.

When served with bread (e.g. my treccia) and a green salad this is a complete meal.  

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