Sunday, April 12, 2009

How dinner made itself AKA the advent of summer!

Since we finally made it to our local Farmers' Market today, I knew that summer was finally here! I tasted some sweet ripe California strawberries, the tiniest little clementines, and inhaled the delicately heady aroma of green garlic. Given the relative short season for green garlic, buying them was a no-brainer, but then my brain ached as I worried about how to showcase them without overwhelming them. But inspiration soon hit and it all fell in to place: I found some fresh oyster mushrooms and asparagus, and on the way home, I stopped by Trader Joe's (how did I ever cook before TJs?) to pick up some dried pasta, goat cheese and mache.

Our good friend Michele was over, and we went to work. We roasted the oyster mushrooms with some thinly sliced green garlic, tossed in extra virgin Olive oil, Salt, Pepper and some thyme from the backyard at 350 degrees for about 17-18 minutes - watch to make sure that it does not burn, and use your tongs to move the mushrooms around the cookie sheet a few times. Then we cooked about 1/2 a cup of diced pancetta, poured out the excess, added 8 oz of mascarpone to the pan, and heated it through, adding the cooked mushrooms to the pan at the very end. In the meantime, the dried pasta (pappardelle in this case, but fettucine or orichette would also work) was cooked al dente and added to the mushroom sauce and served with some grated pecorino romano at the table. Accompanied by a 2001 Scherrer Pinot Noir, it made a sublime dinner!

We also had a warm goat cheese salad and roasted asparagus, but the pasta was so incredible (and so simple!) that it warranted a blog post, at least IMHO.

And thank you Michele, for sharing in the inspiration, the cooking and the eating, and most importantly, for being my friend!