This recipe depends on coming up with a deeply flavorful mushroom sauce. My version might not have hit it as solidly as did the dish I had at Watts Grocery in Durham, but nonetheless my husband gave it an "A."
We had enough leftover that you could have served three from this recipe, or you can double it and have plenty for four big appetites--and it's good leftover, too.
For the ragu:
--1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, covered with boiling water and soaked for 15 minutes
--1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
--1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms, preferably a mix of "baby bellas," white mushrooms, shiitakes and (if you can get them) chanterelles
--2 medium shallots, minced
--2 large or 3 medium cloves fresh garlic, minced
--Salt and freshly ground black pepper
--2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
--1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
--1 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock, plus the strained liquid from the porcini soak
To finish the dish:
--1 8-ounce package dried pappardelle pasta (may also use fettucini)
--1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed well, ribs removed and chopped into 2-inch slices
--Any remaining stock or porcini liquid not used to cook the ragu
--4 ounces soft goat cheese
1. Remove the porcini mushrooms from the soaking liquid, reserving the liquid. Pat the mushrooms dry, chop coarsely and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; stir and cook until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes until mushrooms begin to cook. Add 1/2 cup of stock, cover pan and cook another 5 minutes. Add seasonings and another 1/2 cup of stock. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain when al dente and set aside.
5. Increase heat in skillet to medium and add chard, one cup at a time, until it has wilted. Add porcini liquid, taste and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper). If mixture seems too dry, add more stock or water.
6. Add pasta to the skillet and stir well until heated through. Remove to a serving platter or individual plates and dot with teaspoons of the goat cheese. Serve immediately.
We had a fruity, not too tannic cabernet sauvignon blend from Chile with this dish and it was perfect. The wine was Palo Alto Reserve 2008, a blend of cabernet, carmenere and syrah.