Pastas/Noodles · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

A few years ago, I felt like every other word being thrown around in food world was “umami“.

From food critics, to journals, burger spots and heck—even soy sauce commercials. And it made me wonder, how the heck did we used to describe foods of similar taste profiles before?

Now, I highly doubt you’ll ever catch me using this phrase to describe foods, mostly because I don’t want to sound like a poser. But that’s not to say, I don’t love ingredients that are supposed to epitomize “umami“… mushrooms. Because y’all know, I am a mushroom fanatic.

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

This little number is ALL about mushrooms and its earthy flavors. I used a mix of criminis, shitakes, oysters, and porcinis and then slowly cooked them down to create a rich ragoût. And holy SHITAKE—-it’s makes this mushroom-lovin’-gal HAPPY!

Ah heck…….it’s freaking deliciously umami!


Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate
Serves 4

1 Pound Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (crimini, portobello, trumpet, oyster, etc.)
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
½ Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Stock (vegetable, mushroom, beef, chicken, etc.), warmed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Cup Shallots, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
½ Pound Fettucine, cooked according to directions
Kosher salt and Black Pepper

In a bowl, add the dried porcini to the hot water. Allow to reconstitute for at least 20 minutes.

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic and red chili flakes and sauté for an addition 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened—about 10 minutes. Add the porcini mushrooms that were reconstituted in water, saving the liquid. Mix and sauté for an additional minute. Add in red wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated.

Pour in the liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in––be careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Cook until the liquid has reduced to half. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together with a fork. Add in the butter/flour mixture to the mushrooms, stirring it in well to combine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the stock and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to desired consistency. Add in basil and season with salt and pepper.  Remove 1/3 of the mushrooms and toss in the hot fettucine noodles to the pan, tossing it in the ragoût evenly to coat the noodles. Plate the pasta and top with a spoonful of the remaining mushroom ragoût.

Breads · Pizzas · Pork

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

If you were to ask me, “What do you want on your pizza?”———–I will almost always say, Sausage and Mushrooms.

You just can’t go wrong with this delish combo.

I do, however, like to add a few special touches when I make my Sausage and Mushroom Pizzas. And those little extras comes in the form of roasted garlic and grape tomatoes. I try to squeeze in my veggies anyway I can.

Wait a second. Can I really consider garlic a “vegetable”?

Eh…… Sure, why not!? 🙂

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

For this pizza, I tried out the dough from Cooks Illustrated. I’m happy to report that it came together really easily—especially since I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook attachment for the kneading. The dough came out beautifully silky before baking and had a wonderful texture when it was done. I definitely recommend it!

Stay tuned for Friday’s post where I take a spin on one of my all time favorite desserts 🙂


Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Dough (From Cooks Illustrated):
½ cup warm water (for yeast)
2½ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
1½ teaspoon salt
olive oil for oiling the bowl
*Makes enough for 4 medium sized crusts

1 cup spicy Italian sausage, browned
1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups marinara sauce (more if you like it saucier)
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grape tomatoes, diced
¼ roasted garlic
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare pizza dough. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add room temperature water and oil and stir to combine. Combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using a little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Divide the dough into quarters. Take one of the pieces and roll/toss/stretch the dough into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread the roasted garlic all over the crust. Cover the crust with an even layer of marinara sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ -inch border around the perimeter. Top with the grape tomatoes, sausage, and mushrooms. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

Note: If you aren’t planning to use the extra dough right away, there are a few options for you. First, you can shape each piece and parbake them. Wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap and foil—then, throw into the freezer. Another option is to oil the inside of a Ziploc bag with cooking spray. Throw in one ball of dough per oiled bag and remove any excess air before sealing and place it in the freezer. Transfer it to the fridge the night before you want to use it. Then place it on the counter to get it to room temperature for 1-2 hours before you bake it.

Pastas/Noodles · Pork · Poultry

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Okay, I confess. I didn’t really come up with this pasta dish on my own. It’s actually my interpretation of Pasta Pomodoro’s Penne Portobello which I just L-O-V-E.

Italian Sausage, chicken, mushrooms—all in a garlicky cream sauce. How could it not be Delizioso?

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

In addition to the criminis, I used porcini mushrooms and its liquor for an extra level of earthiness to the dish.  I also threw in fresh arugula leaves at the very end for a bit of freshness and peppery flavor. And although this is technically a cream sauce, you’d be surprised how light it all was.

Bon appetito!


Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia
Serves 4-5


¾ Pound Penne Pasta
2 Links Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Boneless Chicken Breast, sliced
2 Cups Loosely Packed Arugula
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup White Wine
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Shallots, chopped finely
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, diced finely
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and cook the penne pasta just shy of al dente.

Place the dried Porcini in a bowl with the hot water. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute—about 10 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid from the Porcinis (saving the liquid) and roughly chop them.

Heat olive oil in a very large heavy pan (or pot) over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add Italian sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the sausage is barely pink, add the chicken. Continue cooking until both are done. Use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate covered with paper towels.

Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic, chili flakes, and both mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–being careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the liquids until it is reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Return the sausage and chicken to the pot and add the cooked penne. Stir until all the penne has been coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from the heat and toss in the arugula leaves. Toss until the leaves are just wilted. Serve and Enjoy!


Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto


Over the years, I have grown a deep adoration for risotto. Creamy, rich and perfect as a side dish or entrée. The slow cooking and continual stirring of the rice assists in developing the starch—which helps in the wonderful “unctuousness” of the dish. Pair that with my love for mushrooms and BADA-BING-BADA-BOOM—-you’ve got a happy tummy!

Earthy, rich, savory, and satisfying. All that’s missing is a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc—and as luck would have it, I just happened to have an open bottle of it since the recipe called for white wine.

Now if that’s not “divine kitchen intervention”, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Cheers, Friends!


Mushroom Risotto


Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Serves 2-3


4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
½ Cup White Onion, diced, divided
2 Garlic Cloves, minced, divided
½ Pound Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (crimini, portobello, trumpet, oyster, etc.)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tablespoon Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped, divided
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Salt and pepper
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
½ Cup Warm Water
1 Cup Arborio Rice
¼ Cup Dry White Wine
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and butter. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add the dried porcini mushrooms that were reconstituted in warm water, saving the liquid. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sauté 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 1 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute.  Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and simmer, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy–approximately 20 minutes in total. Transfer the mushrooms (reserving about 2-3 tablespoons of them) to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon risotto into dishes and top with a few mushrooms and chopped parsley before serving.

Beef · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Ribeye Steak and Frites

Ribeye Steak & Frites


I love steaks—-I am, after all, my mother’s daughter.

But I don’t eat it very often and I sure as heck don’t make it enough. Which is really unfortunate because it’s so easy and makes your home smell delicious. In fact, it took longer to bake my frites than it did for me to prepare and sear my Ribeye Steak.

So next time, forgo the bougie steakhouses. You’ll save a few bucks and no one will look at you weird if you’re wearing your pajamas at the dinner table. 🙂


Ribeye Steak and Frites
Serves 2


2 Ribeye Steaks, approximately 1.5 inches thick and at room temperature
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 Large Russet Potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch long strips
2 Tablespoons Fresh Garlic, minced finely
1 Tablespoon Shallots, diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
¼ Cup Red Wine or Beef Stock
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, divided
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with in 2 tablespoons of oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Spread them in one even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes. Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure all sides are baked even.

While the frites are baking, rub the steaks with the remaining oil. Heavily season all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan to high heat. Add the steaks to the pan and sear each side for 2-3 minutes. You want to develop a golden brown crust. Move the pan to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 130-135 degrees (medium rare) or 140-145 degrees (medium). Remove the steaks to a clean plate and tent with aluminum foil. Allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes.

While the steaks are resting, melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and shallots until they are golden brown. Add thyme leaves, wine, and cream. Cook until the sauce reduces by half. Season with salt and pepper.

Plate the steaks with a few spoonfuls of the mushroom sauce and frites.


Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Potato Mushroom Gratin–PERFECT for Thanksgiving!

Potato-Mushroom Gratin

Okay…you caught me. I mentioned this dish during my 2009 Thanksgiving post. But it is SO DELISH and EASY that I had to spotlight it again…and this time, on its own!

This Gratin is rich, earthy, and utterly satisfying—PERFECT for the holidays. And the best thing yet, you can make it days in advance and just pop it in the oven to warm up before serving. Nguyen-Win Situation! Kudos Bruce Aidells, this one is a keeper!



Potato-Mushroom Gratin
From Bruce Aidells


5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
2½ Pounds Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1½ Teaspoons Coarse Kosher Salt, plus additional for mushrooms
¾ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper, plus additional for mushrooms
1¼ Cups Heavy Whipping Cream, divided
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Thyme
6 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
12 Ounces Fresh Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or oval ceramic baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange 1/3 of potatoes, slightly overlapping, in dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour 1/3 cup cream over; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering 1/3 of potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/3 cup cream, and 1/4 cup cheese 2 more times. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender, adding cream by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; maintain oven temperature.

Sprinkle thyme and garlic slices over gratin. Toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Arrange mushroom slices atop gratin around edge of dish. Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Continue to bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and potato edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 1 hour in dish; cover and chill. Before serving, cut gratin into 10 pieces. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil and rewarm in 350°F oven, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pastas/Noodles · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Fresh Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Fresh Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

A few years ago, my office did a staff teambuilding retreat at Emile’s Restaurant in downtown San Jose. The Chef guided us through the process of creating a three-course meal from start to finish. It was quite fun to work in a professional kitchen that had all the bells and whistles but what I remembered the most was the Gnocchi. Soft, pillows of potato dumplings…..who knew it was so easy?

Yet here I am, years later, and I have still yet to create Gnocchi at home. I blame it on two things really—Laziness and Trader Joe’s. Why make it at home when their frozen Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola is so yummy and quick?

Gnocchi Ingredients As luck would have it, I have had some time on my hands and thought this would be a great opportunity to give them a try. Many recipes for Gnocchi have you boil the potatoes but the Chef insisted that baking them yielded better results—less liquid and fluffier product. He also suggested breaking down the potatoes while they were still hot—though that is a tad easier said than done. Speaking of breaking down the potatoes, it’s best to peel them after they’re baked and run them through a potato ricer. If you don’t have a ricer, you can also use a potato masher —being thorough to remove all the lumps. However, I found that cutting the potatoes in half (skin on) and using a fork to scrape the meat out works quite well, too. And although the recipe I list below isn’t what we used years ago, it’s still just as easy and delicious. The quick mushroom sauce was a great earthy pairing for the gnocchi—simple and to the point. Since I didn’t have a gnocchi paddle (and wasn’t too successful using the tines of a fork), I went “rustic” and made straight cuts.

Fresh Gnocchi

YUM. Potato Pillows….seriously.

I guess I’ll be taking a break from T.J.’s Gnocchi. 🙂

Fresh Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce


Fresh Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce
Serves 4


1 Pound Russet Potatoes
1 Egg, beaten lightly
½ – ¾ Cup All Purpose Flour (plus more for dusting)
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Mushroom Cream Sauce:
2½ Cups Sliced Mushrooms (I used Brown & White Mushrooms)
1 Cup Vegetable Stock (I used Mushroom Stock)
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, diced
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Teaspoon Garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bake potatoes at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and cool just enough to handle but the potatoes should still be warm.

Peel potatoes and put them through a potato ricer.  Sprinkle in half of the flour and make a well in the center of the bowl. Add egg and salt. Fold mixture, adding more flour if needed. Texture should be like Play-Doh. Gently knead the mixture by hand a few times and form into a ball. On a floured surface, roll dough into long logs about ½ – ¾ inch in diameter. Cut the logs into 1 inch pieces. *I found it easier to cut the gnocchi using a pastry scraper versus a regular knife.

Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted, boiling water. This may need to be done in batches to not crowd the pot. The gnocchi will float to the top when they are cooked–approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them into an ice bath. Continue until all gnocchi have been cooked. Drain the gnocchi from the water and lightly toss in oil. Set aside until sauce is ready.

Melt butter in a large saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, chives, thyme and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add stock and heat on medium-high. Once the stock comes to a slow boil reduce heat and add cream. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add gnocchi and heat until warmed through. Toss in cheese, ensuring the gnocchi is well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional chives and enjoy!