Winter Squash & Wild Mushroom Curry

This dish was quick to prepare and was absolutely fabulous. The biggest mistake I made was not doubling the recipe! I made it for an early birthday celebration dinner for my mom. We topped it off with a birthday pear snacking cake for dessert. 🙂 It was a great autumn comfort food meal.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s “Vegetarian India,” contributed by David Tanis. I increased the amount of squash, mushrooms, and garlic. Any type of wild or cultivated mushrooms could be used such as royal trumpets, oyster, shiitakes, chanterelles, or cremini mushrooms; I used a combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms. The recipe below is double the original recipe. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice with warm naan on the side.

Yield: 8 Servings

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 20 to 28 ounces butternut or other winter squash, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 small whole green chiles, such as jalapeño or serrano
  • 6 medium shallots or 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves, optional (basil leaves could also be substituted)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • pinch of cayenne, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 1/4 pounds mushrooms, preferably a mix of cultivated and wild, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 15 oz can coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  1. In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash cubes in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. (This may be done in batches.) Cook for about 2 minutes, letting cubes brown slightly, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to lift squash out, and set aside.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.)
  3. Add shallots to skillet, salt lightly and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  4. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry/basil leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then add garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and chiles. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds more.
  5. Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  6. Return squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  7. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  8. If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
  9. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with cilantro leaves.

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Spaghetti Pie with Wild Mushrooms & Spinach

This is a cheesy and delicious vegetarian comfort food dish. The pie was inspired by roadside diner spaghetti sandwiches in New Zealand! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Gail Simmons. I increased the amount of garlic and spinach and modified the baking time for a convection oven. I used a combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Wonderful.

Yield: serves 8 to 10

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection. Tightly wrap the outside of 
a 9-inch springform pan with foil and brush the inside with butter or spray with cooking oil.
  2. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti 
until barely al dente; drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until sizzling, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Incorporate all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Scrape spinach into the mushrooms and let cool slightly.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.
  8. Add the spaghetti, mushroom mixture, 3 cheeses, sage, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well.
  9. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  10. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes in a convection oven or 35 minutes in a standard oven, until bubbling and the top 
is golden.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the ring, cut 
the pie into wedges and serve.

I’m sharing my pie at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #196, co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Antonia @ Zoale.com. Enjoy!

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Pappardelle with Mushrooms & Prosciutto

This dish was featured on the cover of the October issue of Bon Appetit. It spoke to me! 🙂

It was part of an article written to change the way pasta is typically cooked. Their secret to saucy, glossy, perfect pasta is to finish cooking the noodles in the sauce – with added pasta water. This pappardelle was creamy deliciousness topped with crispy prosciutto. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used a combination of cut crimini and shiitake mushrooms as well as large shallots.

I’m sharing this dish with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #141 this week, co-hosted by Julianna @Foodie on Board and Zeba @Food for the Soul. I was honored to have my Weeknight Fancy Chicken and Rice post featured this week too! Yay!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces (6 slices) thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), cut into bite-size pieces (I used 1/2 pound crimini and 1/2 pound stemmed shiitake mushrooms)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 12 ounces pappardelle (or fettuccine)
  • â…“ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in same pot over high.
  3. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Add shallots and 1 teaspoon thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions. (I cooked mine just short of 3 minutes.)
  7. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  8. Crumble half (3 slices) of prosciutto into pot.
  9. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to cook down too much or the pasta will become too dry.
  10. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute.
  11. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  12. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.

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Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

I cannot tell you how fabulous my house smelled while this soup was cooking! A neighbor stopped by while it was on the stove and commented that our house had wonderful karma. Of course that’s true… but I also think the wonderful spices in the air helped. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used 1 1/2 pounds of cremini mushrooms and increased the amount of spinach. I also removed half of the soup from the pot, puréed the remaining soup, and then returned the solids to incorporate. It was earthy and hearty.

I added the juice of one lime which was absolutely perfect for me- very bright and delicious. My family thought is was a little heavy with lime juice. Next time, I would add the juice of one half of a lime and serve it with additional lime wedges on the side. (for me!)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, chanterelles and shiitake), chopped
  • ½ pound shallots, finely diced (I used a food processor.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice (I used freshly ground.)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces (generous!) baby spinach
  • fresh lime juice, to taste
  • plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and half the shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with the olive oil, mushrooms and shallots.
  2. Return all mushrooms to the pot and stir in tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 5 cups water, the salt and the black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Remove half of the soup from the pot and reserve.
  6. Using an immersion blender or food processor, coarsely purée the remaining soup. Incorporate the unpuréed soup.
  7. Mix in lime juice. Thin with water, as needed.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  9. Serve with dollops of yogurt and/or lime wedges, as desired.

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Eggplant & Wild Mushroom “Meatballs” in Tomato Sauce

This dish was time-consuming to prepare but it was absolutely FABULOUS. Completely worth every second. It is a classic Sicilian recipe enhanced by the addition of dried wild mushrooms. The “meatballs” were very flavorful and tender, and held together nicely. The sauce was enhanced with the addition of the mushroom soaking liquid- perfect.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Domenica Marchetti, author of The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. Next time, I will make it ahead of time and double the recipe. Great.

2021 Update: I made the meatballs a day in advance and refrigerated them on a sheet pan covered with plastic wrap overnight. I refrigerated the mushroom soaking liquid as well. I also doubled the recipe and froze an entire batch to enjoy at a later date. 🙂 We ate the meatballs and sauce over pasta with crusty bread on the side.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Total Time: approximately 2 hours

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms or mixed dry wild mushrooms (shiitake, porcini, black, & oyster)
  • boiling water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, finely grated with a garlic press, divided
  • two 28-ounce cans imported whole Italian tomatoes, pureed with their juices
  • 2 T chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish, divided
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • all-purpose flour, for coating
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • crusty bread, for serving
  • cooked pasta, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork and set it on a baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until very soft and collapsed.
  3. Let cool slightly, then scrape the eggplant flesh into a large bowl and let cool completely. Discard the skin. Lightly shred with two forks.
  4. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, cover the dry mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and let stand until softened, 30 minutes; drain, reserving the soaking liquid.
  5. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit. Finely chop.
  6. In an enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  7. Add the onion and half of the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.
  8. Add the tomato puree and pour in the mushroom soaking liquid, stopping before reaching the grit; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until thickened, 1 hour.
  9. Add half of the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Fold the chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, eggs, 2 ounces of cheese, parsley and the remaining garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop, form the eggplant mixture into twenty (I had 24 using a 1 1/2 pound eggplant.) 1 3/4-inch balls, rolling tightly.
  12. Dust the balls with flour and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (or overnight).IMG_4170
  13. In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat a scant 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
  14. Add half (12) of the meatballs at a time and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel- lined plate or baking sheet.
  15. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  16. Garnish the meatballs with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread, grated cheese, and pasta, as desired.

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