I’m at that point in the year when vegetables just don’t sound good to me. Sure, I want to eat tons of vegetables, my body is asking me to eat vegetables, but when I walk through the produce aisle at the store nothing calls out to me or gets me excited. Except mushrooms. Mushrooms and broccoli are my saving grace in winter.
I’ve been cooking them all sorts of ways, but recently I was thumbing through Joshua McFadden’s new book, Six Seasons, and as I was flipping through the pages the heavens parted, birds started chirping, and there they were, these gremolata mushrooms. Good ‘ol mushrooms.
Sure, I felt a little lame that in a book with so many inspiring recipes for often overlooked vegetables (think celery root, kohlrabi, rutabaga, and turnips) I went straight for the familiar. What I’ve found about McFadden’s recipes is that even with ingredients that you’ve cooked before, he presents them to you in a whole new light. In this dish we start by sauteeing mushrooms with garlic and olive oil. Simple, basic. Then we cover them with briny capers, lemon zest and juice, more garlic, and a ton of parsley. The gremolata totally transforms the mushrooms by brightening them up and adding interest. For me, the secret ingredient is the lemon zest. Using zest is kind of a cheffy trick that makes a huge impact, but as a home cook I often forget about it. Here, it really makes the dish.
Last, but not least, I added pasta and a ton of parmesan because its winter and I need to plump myself up to stay warm! Adding pasta rounds out the dish and turns it into a full meal. Next time you’re craving a satisfying meatless meal, or just want a freakin’ delicious mushroom pasta recipe, look no further!
- 3 T olive oil + a little more
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 T capers, chopped
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ c. flat leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb mushrooms (crimini or fancier, whatever you feel like)
- ½ lb cavatappi or other similar pasta
- Grated parmesan
- Add capers, lemon zest and juice to a small bowl.
- Heat 3 T olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, but not browned at all, about 1 minute.
- Pour the hot garlic oil into the bowl with the lemon and capers. Add ¾ of the parsley, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Chop the mushrooms into large pieces. Heat a little more olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Use the flat side of a large knife to whack/smash remaining garlic cloves. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the frying pan and season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and crispy on the edges, 12-15 mins, adding more oil as needed.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, but don’t rinse.
- Add pasta, mushrooms, and gremolata and stir to combine.Top with remaining parsley and as much parmesan as you want.