A good cook can be defined by how they approach new dishes. When we're first learning to cook, we keep adding ingredients - an extra spice, seasoning or flavour - in an attempt to make our meal taste better. But when we actually become a good cook, we start taking ingredients away, removing anything unnecessary or distracting, until a dish finally tastes simple, clean and elegant. Finely grated dried shiitake adds a big umami boost to this simple pasta.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 eschallots, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
100g enoki mushrooms, trimmed and broken into clumps
100g Swiss brown mushrooms, very finely sliced
2 king oyster (eringii) mushrooms, cut into 1cm chunks
2 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to season
150ml thickened cream
500g dried fettuccine
2 dried shiitake mushrooms*
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the eschallots and garlic until fragrant. Add the enoki, Swiss brown, king oyster and portobello mushrooms. Season well with salt and pepper and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until very well browned.
2. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. While the mushrooms are cooking, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions until just al dente. Drain well and add to the simmering mushrooms, tossing to coat in the sauce for just a minute or two.
4. Divide the pasta among warm serving plates and, using a rasp grater, scatter the dried shiitake mushrooms on top. Finish with the chives and parmesan cheese and serve.
*Adam's tip: Drying mushrooms enhances their savoury, umami taste. Try dusting a roast chicken with porcini powder, or adding dried chantarelles to a stew. If European varieties are too expensive, I use dried shiitake mushrooms.