Farfalle with Sautéed Mushrooms and Thyme

When I got home after Christmas, I was very excited to try something from one of my new America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. I settled on a mushroom pasta recipe from The New Best Recipe. The cookbook has a very thorough introduction and recipe; here's an abridged version with my notes.

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 large shallots, chopped fine (about 1 c)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced with stems discarded
16 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
(The original recipe calls for 10 oz of each type of mushroom, but Harris Teeter only had one package of shiitake left, and it was expensive anyway)
Thyme (Used dried, recipe calls for 1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh)
1 1/4 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Black pepper
1 lb farfalle (bowtie pasta) (campanelli also possible)
2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1 c) (I finally decided to try freshly grated cheese this time. At least on its own, it is so much better than the pre-shredded stuff.)
Parsley (Used dried, recipe calls for 2 tbsp fresh)

1. Boil 4 qt water in a large pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened and translucent, about 4 min. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 s. Increase the heat to medium-high; add the shiitakes and cook for 2 min. Add the cremini and 1/2 tsp salt; cook about 8 min. Stir in thyme and cook 30 s. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. Add chicken broth to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan; off the heat, stir in the cream, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add 1 tbsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until just shy of al dente. Drain and return pasta to the pot.
4. Add the mushrooms, chicken broth-cream mixture, cheese, and parsley to the pasta. Toss over medium-low heat until the cheese melts and pasta absorbs most of the liquid, about 2 min. Serve immediately.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, and it made for excellent leftovers as well. Whitney had two comments. First, the sauce came out kind of thin. The cookbook says the sauce is supposed to thicken when simmered with the pasta "as the pasta leaches starch"; I'm pretty sure we cut that step too short. I do think some thickening had occurred by the time I ate the leftovers. Whitney also mentioned that the Parmesan may have been better as a topper than mixed in the sauce, although I suppose there's no reason one couldn't do both.

This was a great first experience with this cookbook, and I look forward to trying more recipes. Thanks Kathleen and Alex!

Shallots cooking, with mushrooms on deck


  1. Glad to see you trying the Best Recipe cookbook - it is fantastic. We have found, however, that you simply cannot underestimate the importance of the simmering/thickening phases of sauces...Cook's Illustrated tends to under-report the amount of time needed (especially for your beloved Bolognese sauce)!!

    Happy Cooking!

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