Friday, November 30, 2018

Kale Strata with Italian Sausage

Most of the classes I teach during the holidays feature the festive…sometimes labor intensive…foods that most of us associate with the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  But occasionally I tuck in a class that is all about making the season a little bit easier on the cook.  Next week I will be teaching a class with a slate of quick weeknight meals.  This week I taught a class featuring foods to make or keep on hand when your house is filled with out of town guests.

One of the recipes in the class was for a strata filled with kale and Italian sausage.  I think perhaps a lot of people have grown up with stratas…often called a breakfast casserole….  But I did not.  I didn’t have a strata until well into my adulthood (and my cooking career).  The first one I tasted was one I made—a “savory bread pudding” filled with asparagus and goat cheese.  It was delicious. 

And of course, that’s exactly what strata is…a savory bread pudding.  As the word strata implies, traditional versions of this dish are made by layering sliced, stale bread with cooked fillings (meats and vegetables) and cheese. In the version I make, the bread is cubed and tossed (or layered) with the other ingredients.  

Both styles then get soaked with an egg-rich custard.  

The dish is left to sit for at least half an hour before baking (so the bread can have a chance to absorb the custard)…and can be left in the fridge overnight.  And therein is the thing that makes it so appropriate for feeding houseguests.  You can make the whole thing ahead—and whether you are feeding it to people for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner (it is appropriate for all of these), when you are ready to eat, you just pop it in the oven.  It’s ready in an hour—during which time you can do other things with your guests—or make something simple to serve with it (green or raw vegetable salad, roasted potatoes, etc.).

In my classes, I always teach specific recipes—but the recipes are often intended to be a vehicle for teaching basic techniques, standard methods and classic formulas/ratios. To my mind, this is how I can best help people to learn how to really cook.   So I was especially pleased when, while working on my strata recipe, I ran across a post at about how to make a strata without a recipe.  The author of the article offered a basic formula for the components of the dish, along with an outline of how to put it all together.  I don’t agree with her on all the details, but I think the article is excellent and definitely worth reading.

The basic idea presented in the article is that you can ratio all of your components from the volume of your bread.  I have adapted the formula to suit my preferences as follows:  For every cup of bread, I add a half cup of cooked fillings, a quarter cup (1 oz.) of grated cheese, and 1cup of custard. 

The custard is of course just a mixture of eggs and dairy.  You will find stratas that have as little as 2 eggs for every cup of dairy…and some that have 4 eggs for every cup (basically equal quantities of egg and dairy).  The higher the percentage of eggs, the firmer the resulting strata will be.  I prefer a slightly softer set and use roughly 2 1/2 eggs for every cup of dairy.  As for the dairy, almost every strata recipe I have ever seen uses all milk.  But I add just a touch of heavy cream.  That first savory bread pudding I made (mentioned above) included a small amount of cream…and it was exceptional.  It’s a bit counterintuitive, but that little bit of extra fat makes the strata seem even lighter.

I thought my kale and sausage strata was delicious…and I hope you will give it a try.  But I hope you will feel free to experiment, using the recipe as a template, too....taking simple things from your pantry—stale bread, eggs, milk, cheese—and using them as a starting point to create a satisfying and delicious meal.  

Savory Kale Strata

1 large bunch kale (Red Russian, Siberian or Tuscan), stems stripped away (you should have about 150 g./1/3 lb. trimmed leaves) and leaves rinsed in several changed of water
1 T. olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (or 2 links, casings removed)
1 yellow onion (about 5 oz.), finely diced (1 c.)
1 t. minced rosemary
1/2 lb. day-old bread, crust intact, cut into 1-inch cubes (5 c.)
1 c. (4 oz.) coarsely grated Gruyère (or other well-flavored melting cheese)
1/3 c. (1 oz.) grated Parmesan
8 eggs
2 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 t. kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Butter a 2 1/2- to 3-quart shallow and wide casserole or baking dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil.  Add the kale and cook until just tender—about 6 to 7 minutes.  Lift the kale out of the pot and spread on a baking sheet to cool.  When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out the excess water.  Chop very coarsely and set aside. 

While the kale cooks, place a tablespoon of olive oil in a cold, wide sauté pan.  Crumble in the sausage and set the pan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through—about 8 to 10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, lift out the sausage and transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium heat.  Add the onion and rosemary along with a good pinch of salt.  Sweat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and beginning to caramelize a bit on the edges—about 10 to 15 minutes.  If the pan appears to be dry at any time while the onion cooks (because the sausage was very lean) add a drizzle of oil.  When the onion is ready, add the kale and toss/stir to coat in the onions.  Let the mixture sizzle and cook for a minute or two to allow the flavors to blend.  Set aside to cool.

Place the bread, sausage, kale-onion mix, the Parmesan and all but a small handful of Gruyère in a large bowl.  Toss so that everything is evenly distributed.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Crack the eggs into the same bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the milk, cream, 1 t. of salt and several grindings of pepper.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread and mix ins.  Jiggle the dish a bit to make sure everything is evenly distributed.  Press down on any bread that isn’t coated in custard.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.  (Or, transfer to the fridge and chill overnight…let sit at room temperature for an hour or two before baking.)

Remove the plastic wrap and once again, lightly press down on the bread (using a spatula or fork) to make sure everything is submerged or coated in the custard.  Scatter the reserved cheese over all.  Cover the pan with a buttered and tented piece of foil and transfer to a 350° oven. 

Bake covered for about 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake until the strata is bubbling around the edges and the custard is set in the center (the tip of a paring knife inserted in the center will come out clean and an instant read thermometer will read between 160° and 180°)—another 15 minutes or so. If the strata is not browned to your liking, run under the broiler for a minute or two (watch carefully so it won’t burn). 

Let the strata rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.  Serves 8.

  • Substitute 1 1/4 c. diced ham for the sausage. 
  • Substitute milk for some or all of the heavy cream.
  • This recipe is a template for any strata.  For every 5 cups of bread you will need about 5 cups of custard (eggs and dairy combined) and 2 1/2 c. total mix ins (this recipe has 1 1/4 cup each cooked kale & cooked sausage).

Printable Version

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Holiday Family Tradition: My Grandmother's Soft Dinner Rolls

One of the most important items on our holiday dinner table is a big basket of homemade soft dinner rolls.  It just doesn’t seem like the holidays without them.  My brothers…and as the family has grown, their sons…usually grab at least two when the basket makes its first round of the table.  I have always been amused and gratified by this.  There are of course always plenty…but I’m happy that they love something I make so much.

When I was growing up, both of my grandmothers served dinner rolls at the holidays.  I have no memory of the homemade rolls of my paternal grandmother.  I am told she was an amazing cook, but by the time I was old enough to be aware of—or remember—the food at her table, she had turned to convenience fare (instant potatoes, purchased dinner rolls, etc).  But I’m sure her homemade rolls were delicious.  Apparently my older brother’s mantra at her table was “more rolls, more rolls” (I am told that mine was “more butter, more butter”...  I know everyone is shocked). 
My maternal grandmother's rolls—that she made until she was no longer able to stand up to cook—were the stuff of legends.  Soft…slightly sweet…buttery….and light…  I remember walking into her kitchen—filled with the amazing sights and smells of the holidays—being greeted always by several towel-covered pans of rising rolls sitting on the counter.  I would catch a glimpse of the rolls themselves when she pulled back the towels to check their progress.  I loved the way they looked—puffy clouds of buttered dough, shimmering in the November or December light coming in through the windows.  Sometimes the rolls were in muffin tins—with three little balls each—for cloverleaf rolls.  And other times the puffed folds of Parker House rolls appeared when she pulled back the towels.  She must have made pan rolls (sometimes called pull-apart rolls) too, but for some reason I can’t conjure up a visual memory of those.

When I began to contribute to the holiday table, rolls (and pies) were one of the first things I made.  I have made various recipes for rolls over the years—trying out different ones from newly acquired cookbooks…or the latest magazine…in my early days as a cook (young cooks always seem to want to make something new and different).  But at some point during the past twenty five years or so since I started cooking professionally, I returned to the recipe that my grandmother made.

Because she was a generous cook, there are multiple copies of her roll recipe—in her own hand—floating around the family recipe files.  They are all in one of two forms:  the original “Jo’s Rich Rolls”…and then in a later, shakier hand, “Jo’s No-Knead Rich Rolls.”  The rolls are identical except there is a much smaller quantity of flour in the no-knead version.  She claimed to prefer this later version, saying it made much lighter rolls.  But I admit I didn’t like them as well.  The texture, while very open and porous, was a bit more firm...and not as pleasing to me as the soft, fine-grained texture of the original kneaded version.  I think it is possible that she was getting tired…and that the no-knead version was just as delicious without requiring the physical exertion of kneading.

If you follow my blog, you might recognize this recipe.  It is a fantastic basic dough that I use for all kinds of preparations.  When I make cinnamon rolls, I add a bit of cinnamon and orange zest to the dough, roll it out and fill it with cinnamon and sugar.  And I have posted two filled breakfast loaves—one, a Christmas wreath, filled with pistachios and dried cranberries…and the other, a twisted braid filled with chocolate and almonds.  In both these recipes I add a bit of spice to the dough too.   I don’t know if my grandmother ever did any of these things.  But it is possible…and I’m certain she would approve.  She was a creative and adventurous cook. 

For some reason I have never made my grandmother’s rolls in their cloverleaf or Parker House form.  I usually make pan rolls or crescent rolls.  I have never taken a poll, but I think the pan rolls are the ones my family prefers.  And while the crescent rolls are a show stopper in terms of looks (and seem to hold a special place in the hearts of many), I think I prefer the pan rolls too.  From a cooking standpoint, they are more efficient.  Using only two 9-inch square pans (that can be stacked, if necessary), they take up much less counter space (which is at a premium at the holidays) while they are proofing.  In this form, the baked rolls seem to keep a bit longer, too (and make cute mini slider buns for that roast turkey the next day…).

No matter what shape you choose, you can always bake them ahead and freeze them.  I don’t think my grandmother ever did this, but I find that when I’m preparing the whole meal that making the rolls ahead makes my life a lot easier.  Just bake, cool and wrap well.  Pan rolls shouldn’t be pulled apart…just wrap the whole square.  Crescents can be packed on sheets and wrapped…or tucked into freezer bags.  On the day you will be serving them, let them thaw—still wrapped (this will conserve their moisture)—at room temperature.  When ready to heat them, remove the plastic and wrap them in foil.   To heat, place them in a 350° to 375° oven for 10 or 15 minutes—about the length of time it takes you to carve the roast and put the sides into serving dishes. 

This year my only job for Thanksgiving dinner was to make bread.  So I made my rolls the day of the feast….and made some cornbread and sweet potato biscuits too.  I have always thought these two quick breads would be just the thing on a Thanksgiving table…alongside a basket of yeast rolls of course.  So I would have a nice variety of shapes, I decided to make the rolls crescent shaped.  I was so glad I did—I thought they were beautiful together. 

I am including instructions for both the pan rolls and the crescent rolls.  I haven’t looked at my grandmother’s recipe cards in a while, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t any specific instructions for forming the rolls (she would have said something like “form the rolls into the desired shapes”).  If you prefer cloverleaf or Parker House style rolls, instructions abound in cookbooks and on the internet.

As I have looked at—and compared—recipes for soft dinner rolls over the years, I have found that they are generally pretty similar.  Most people probably would be able to find such a recipe in their grandmother’s or great grandmother’s recipe collections. The quantities of the ingredients in your family’s recipe might vary a bit from mine…but mostly they are all slightly sweet—and rich with butter, milk and eggs—making them fitting for a special holiday meal.  But if you don’t have such a recipe in your family…or a memory of a basket of homemade soft dinner rolls on your family’s table, I hope you will give this recipe a try.   And I hope that, like my family, everyone will love them so much that they will ask for them again next year….and the year after that…until they eventually become part of your family’s holiday traditions too.

My Grandmother’s Soft Dinner Rolls
(Jo’s Rich Rolls)

4 1/2 t. active dry or instant yeast 
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. milk
1/3 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
2 egg
5 to 6 c. all-purpose flour

Place the warm water in a large bowl and add the yeast.  While the yeast is softening, heat the milk until it is steaming and bubbles are beginning to form around the edge of the pan.  Remove the milk from the heat and add the butter.  When the butter is melted, add the sugar and salt.  Add the warm milk/sugar mixture (if it is hot—over 115°—let it cool a bit before proceeding) to the softened yeast and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the eggs.  Add 2 cups of the flour whisk until smooth.  Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).  Place the dough in a buttered bowl.  Turn the dough to coat with butter and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).

When the dough is fully risen, knock it back and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 32 equal pieces and form into balls.  

Divide the balls of dough between two buttered 9-inch square baking pans.  

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes to an hour). 

Bake the rolls at 375° until puffed and golden brown—about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.  Makes 32 rolls (recipe is easily halved to make 16—use 1 9-inch square pan)

  • To make crescent rolls, divide the risen dough in half and form two balls.  Roll each ball out into a thin 16-inch round.  Brush round with some (1 to 1 1/2 T.) melted butter.  Cut each round into 16 wedges.  Roll each wedge into a crescent, curving slightly and making sure the point is tucked under so the rolls won’t unroll while they rise or bake.  Place the rolls 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined sheets.  Proof & bake.

  • To minimize the work on the day of your gathering, you can make the roll dough the day before.  Let the dough rise and punch it down as usual.  Form the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.  Cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.  Take it out of the fridge and proceed as directed in the recipe for forming, proofing/rising and baking.  Besides being a time saver, making the dough ahead makes it so that the dough is much easier to handle for rolling and forming into crescents.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A few ideas for Chanterelles season

When I shop for groceries, I’m always on a mission.  I’m just not much of a browser.  And I'm definitely not much of an impulse shopper.  I’m all about speed, efficiency and checking off the items on my list.  (I try not to knock people down in my haste…)  I pretty much save browsing for the farmers’ market.  Occasionally something that isn’t on my list will catch my attention when I'm at the grocery store and I’ll stop to have a look.  Of course this happens most often in the produce section (or maybe the meat or seafood department).  Figs, for example, always catch me off guard.  I wasn’t expecting them…and then there they are.  And suddenly they are on my list.

This happened a few weeks ago at Costco…with chanterelles.  I think Costco has them every fall, but for some reason I have never purchased any.  They are always for sale at a good price, but are still not what one might call inexpensive.  I think I have always thought:  how will two of us consume a pound of chanterelles before they begin to deteriorate?  This is silly of course.  We consume pounds and pounds of all kinds of vegetables all the time and I don’t think anything about it.  The trick is in making a habit out of something. 

I had not thought that far yet a couple of weeks ago when I succumbed to that initial impulse and bought a pound of chanterelles (I really just wanted to eat them).  But I can now happily say I am in the habit.  We have gone through at least three pounds since I first saw them.  I’m pretty sure I will be buying more before the season is over. 

Today I wanted to share a few of the things we have enjoyed…to help get you in the habit too.  Because chanterelles are special…expensive and not always available in my region (even though they have a fairly long season from early fall and into winter)…I like to serve them as simply as possible.  Their savory and aromatic flavor…and meaty-yet-tender texture…should be given center stage without too much competition from other flavors and ingredients.

Chanterelles are supposed to be wonderful when baked, but I have never prepared them that way (I guess I just need to get into the habit…).  To me, cooking chanterelles almost always begins with a sauté in olive oil or butter (see my “how to sauté mushrooms” post for some basic pointers).  From there I like to add shallots…and sometimes some garlic.  After that I add a few herbs (thyme, parsley and chives are my favorite) and more butter…  sometimes a bit of stock…  or some white wine and/or cream. 

With Green Beans, Celery Root Mashed Potatoes and a Sautéed Chicken Breast

Chanterelles started this way can be finished in a myriad of ways:  They can be piled on top of a slab of buttered toast…or a bowl of Leek & Prosciutto Risotto.  They are also delicious floating in a bowl of soup…like Butternut Squash or Celery Root.  (Celery root is a particularly fine companion for chanterelles—the earthy, aromatic and slightly pungent taste of the celeriac brings out the savory and fruity flavors of the chanterelles.)  They are also a delicious accompaniment—all by themselves or combined with another vegetable—to simply prepared beef…or chicken…or fish….  

With Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes and Beef Tenderloin

And if you are looking for ideas for a fall vegetable to add to a frittata or quiche…look no further.  Chanterelles are delicious with eggs.  In fact, the aforementioned toast with chanterelles would be fantastic topped with a nicely poached egg….

One of my favorite vegetable side dishes is green beans tossed with sautéed mushrooms.  Using all chanterelles for the mushroom component makes this simple side even better.  Not only is this dish delicious and elegant—it is easy to prepare for a special dinner or holiday gathering (Thanksgiving, in particular).  Simply have your blanched green beans and sautéed mushrooms ready, then when it’s time to serve, wilt some shallots in some butter, toss in the chanterelles and green beans…and a few herbs…and heat through.  (If you want to gild the lily, top with a shower of toasted pine nuts—or crushed Marcona almonds—and some shaved Parmesan…)

I even used some of my chanterelles on a pizza.  A crust smeared with garlic cream (just use 3 or 4 cloves of peeled garlic—minced or thinly sliced—instead of a head of green garlic) makes a perfect foundation.  Topped with some sautéed chanterelles—and nothing else—this makes a pretty fine pizza.  But you could add julienned prosciutto…or cubed and roasted winter squash…or some wilted leeks…or even cooked bitter greens.  All of these pizzas are particularly nice finished with a bit of Parmesan and some Fontina (whose nutty character compliments the chanterelles very nicely).  The pizza I made included garlic cream, a bunch of Siberian kale, the chanterelles and the aforementioned Parmesan and Fontina.  It was delicious.

Not surprisingly, chanterelles are fantastic on pasta.  You could prepare the pasta with just sautéed chanterelles (the recipe can be found on my basics post).  Or, you could turn your sauté of chanterelles into a mushroom cream sauce before tossing with some fettuccine…  which, in my opinion, is about as good as it gets.

To prepare chanterelles for cooking:  Trim away any visible root.  Wipe away any dirt and debris with a damp cloth…or scrape any particularly impervious detritus with the tip of a paring knife.  Cut away any darkened areas that have become softened, soggy or sponge-y.  Small chanterelles can be cooked whole, but unless they are unusually small, I like to halve, quarter, or slice (about 1/4-inch thick) chanterelles lengthwise.  This helps them to cook through more evenly and provides flat surfaces that take on lovely, golden caramelization during the sautéing process.  While not poisonous, raw chanterelles can apparently be difficult to digest, so make sure you cook them thoroughly.

Haricot Verts with Chanterelles

8 oz. haricot verts/slender green beans, stems trimmed away
1 to 2 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. chanterelles, trimmed, cleaned and sliced or halved/quartered—depending on their size
1 T. butter…plus more as needed
1 medium shallot (about 20 g), peeled and finely diced (about 2 T.)
1 T. minced flat leaf parsley
1 T. minced chives
Salt & pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt until the water tastes salty (about a teaspoon per quart).  Add the green beans and cook until just tender.  Drain.  Rinse under cold running water…or spread on kitchen towels…to cool.  (I tend to rinse if I’m working ahead and spread on towels if I’m using right away.)

Heat a sauté pan that is large enough to hold the mushrooms in a snug single layer over high heat.  Film the pan with oil.  Add the chanterelles to the pan.  Sauté the mushrooms until they are tender and nicely caramelized—this will take about 5 minutes.  As they cook, regulating the heat to prevent scorching if necessary, and stirring/tossing occasionally.  Season with salt after the mushrooms have been in the pan for about 2 minutes (they should have some color at this point—the salt will not only season them, but will encourage the mushrooms to release their juices and will slow down the caramelization process).

If serving right away, reduce the heat to medium low.  Push the mushrooms to the perimeter of the pan and add the butter to the center of the pan.  Add the shallots, along with a pinch of salt, to the melting butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened—a minute or two.  Add the green beans to the pan along with the herbs and heat through, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and adding more butter if the mushrooms and green beans seem dry.

If working ahead, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.  When ready to serve, warm a sauté pan  that is large enough to hold all of the beans and mushrooms over medium heat.  Add the butter.  When the butter has melted, add the shallots along with a pinch of salt.  Cook until the shallots are tender—about a minute or two.  Add the mushrooms, green beans and herbs to the pan and increase the heat slightly.  Cook until the green beans and mushrooms are hot through, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and adding more butter if the mushrooms and green beans seem dry.

Serves 2 to 3 as a side dish.

  • This recipe may be multiplied to serve as many as you like.  Increase the size of your sauté pan as necessary to hold all of the cooked mushrooms and green beans.  You may need to sauté the chanterelles in batches so that they will caramelize nicely (don’t pile the mushrooms into the pan…add only as many as will fit in a snug single layer).  Add fresh oil with each batch.
  • When chanterelles aren’t available, this dish may be made with any mix of your favorite mushrooms.

Fettuccine with Chanterelles in a White Wine Cream Sauce

3 to 4 T. olive oil
1 lb. chanterelles, trimmed and sliced
2 to 3 T. unsalted butter
1 large (2 oz.) shallot, finely minced (about 1/3 c.)
1/3 c. white wine
1 lb. fettuccine (or linguine…or bucatini)
1 c. Heavy Cream
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. (2/3 c.) finely grated Parmesan, divided
2 T. minced flat leaf parsley

Heat a large sauté pan (large enough to hold a pound of cooked pasta…if you don’t have a pan that large, see notes below) over medium-high to high heat. Add enough oil to coat the pan, then add the chanterelles (if your pan is not large enough to accommodate all of the mushrooms in snug single layer, sauté them in batches). Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the chanterelles are browned and tender (this will take about 5 minutes)…add some salt after the mushrooms have been cooking for 2 or 3 minutes and are beginning to brown. When the mushrooms are tender, reduce the heat, push the mushrooms to the perimeter of the pan and add 2 T. of butter.  When the butter has melted, add the shallots along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the shallots are softened and beginning to caramelize…this will take a minute or two.   Add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any caramelized bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Reduce to a glaze.  Add the cream, bring to a simmer and remove the pan from the heat while you cook the pasta.  Taste and correct the seasoning of the sauce with salt & pepper. 

While the sauce is cooking, bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in a large stock/pasta pot.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt (or however much is required for the water to taste salty).  Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving a cup (or more) of the pasta cooking liquid.

Return the sauce to moderate heat and bring back to a simmer.  Remove from the heat, and stir in half of the parmesan.  Toss in the fettuccine, cubed butter and parsley and toss to combine.  If the pasta seems "tight" or sticky (it probably will), add a splash of the pasta water and toss again until the noodles and mushrooms are coated in a light fluid sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for a minute.   Uncover and toss again to check the consistency, adding more pasta water as necessary—the goal is to serve the pasta when the noodles are coated in a light, fluid, creamy sauce.

Divide among serving plates, top with freshly grated Parmesan and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

  • If your pan is not large enough to accommodate a pound of cooked pasta, cook the mushrooms in batches in a wide sauté pan and prepare the sauce up to the point of adding the cheese in that pan.  After you drain the pasta, return the hot pasta to the pasta pot (along with the cubed butter and parsley) and add the mushroom sauce (scraping the sauté pan well with a rubber spatula—and maybe “rinsing” the pan with some of the pasta water—so you can get every bit of the sauce) to the pot.  Finish saucing the pasta (following the directions in the recipe) in the large pot and serve.   
  • This recipe can be easily divided for smaller households.  Just choose an appropriate sized sauté pan for your needs the amount of pasta and mushrooms that you are cooking.
Printable Version       

Pizza with Garlic Cream, Kale & Chanterelles:  Prepare the crust and garlic cream as directed in the recipe for the Asparagus Pizza with Green Garlic Cream & Mushrooms, using 3 or 4 cloves of peeled and minced or thinly sliced garlic instead of a whole head of green garlic in the garlic cream.  Strip the leaves from a bunch of kale (I used Siberian…but Red Russian or Tuscan would be good too).  Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender—this will take about 5 to 10 minutes.  Drain.  Then spread on a baking sheet to cool.  Squeeze out the excess water and chop coarsely.  Sauté a half pound of chanterelles in some olive oil.  When the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, reduce the heat and season with salt & pepper.  Toss in the kale, drizzling in a bit more olive oil, and cook until the kale is sizzling in the oil with the mushrooms.  Taste and correct the seasoning. Set aside to cool.  To build the pizza, roll/stretch the dough into a 12- to 13-inch circle.  Place the round of dough in a pizza pan or on a semolina dusted peel and smear the garlic cream over the surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Top with the kale and chanterelle mixture followed by a mixture of 2 oz. coarsely grated Fontina and an ounce of finely grated Parmesan.  Bake on a hot stone in a preheated 500° oven until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling….about 7 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven.