Default Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms

If you know the Hollywood Farmers Market then you know we have three great booths featuring fresh, locally raised or harvested mushrooms. Which means there are always delicious choices no matter the season.

I like to stop and look at the mushrooms and plan in my mind what I would do with such beauties. Sometimes they can be intimidating. So many varieties. There were black truffles this week (I am guessing imported but I didn’t ask). I was tempted to buy one to shave over barely scrambled eggs with sour cream. But my pocket book wouldn’t budge for that purchase. Oh well, no matter. There are plenty of reasons to love mushrooms. One of those reasons: most varities are easy on the pocketbook because they make great main courses and need very little accompaniment to shine. We eat mushrooms as a main course quite often.

While I would never say we use mushrooms to replace meat in some meals (because that goes against my whole belief system–I never use stand-ins, I believe in using the real thing). I would say, however, that mushrooms can be such a satisfyingly complete experience that they are the main event in some recipes, and I like it that way.

Take this simple default pasta dish with Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms with Linguine. I call it default because it’s a meal that comes together with no planning and it uses whatever I have on hand. In this case oyster mushrooms, plus of course pasta (and garlic– default pasta always has garlic). This default linguine pasta could not be more simple. Fresh oyster mushrooms from the Hollywood Farmers Market are quickly sautéed in garlic and olive oil. I like to add a touch of sweet vermouth and keep the pan over medium heat until the vermouth nearly disappears into the mushrooms. To make it a complete meal simply toss these mushrooms with fresh oregano and linguine, then finish it with a drizzle of your best olive oil. That’s it, dinner is done. Well, salt and pepper and NOW dinner is done. I’m serving a side salad of shaved fennel and a bottle of Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore le Orme that I have been holding aside for just the right sort of casual meal. GREG

Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms with Linguine
serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 6 c oyster mushroom, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 1/4 c olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pn each salt and kosher pepper, plus more as needed for seasoning
  • 2 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 clv garlic, peeled and minced, divided
  • 1/4 c sweet vermouth, divided
  • 1 c fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 lb al dente cooked linguine, plus some of the water it was cooked in
  • 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat a medium-large pan over high heat with about half of the oil. Drop in about half the mushrooms. Don’t overcrowd the pan work in batches. Let the mushrooms site until the begin to brown. Add a pinch each salt and pepper, as this will help release more of the moisture. Add half the butter and half the garlic to caramelize as the moisture keeps evaporates. Once the pan is mostly dry add half the vermouth, scrapping the bottom of the pan to remove and browned bits. Transfer to a warm plate and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Once all the mushrooms are cooked toss them fresh oregano and freshly cooked  linguine. Add a splash of the pasta water and a the Parmesan cheese. Turn out onto a serving plate and drizzle with good olive oil. Serve hot.