To be honest, I've never been a big mushroom fan. That I'm not has always kind of bothered me; they look good, they smell good, I like rich, earthy flavors. I think it's a textural thing. They can be kind of slimy, a little like... well, fungus.
But as I shopped at our favorite store on Sunday, thinking about my 5x5 vegetarian challenge, I saw these big, beautiful portabellas giving me a sly, come-hither stare. I knew there were a lot of fun things you could do with portabellas, and I, as you all know, am a fun-guy (get it? fungi!) so I thought I'd give them a chance to woo me.
Sarah and I searched for recipes all day. Most recipes fall into either portabella-as-burger or portabella-as-stuffed-pepper. I even came across a portabella-as-sloppy-joe recipe. In the end, though, I decided to go with portabella-as-pasta-topping. Anyone who has ever watched Food Network or thumbed through a cookbook has seen some derivation of this: chopped mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with garlic, nice woody herbs (in this case thyme and rosemary), a pinch of salt and pepper, and a little bit of wine, simmered to reduce by about half. Tossed with some pasta, it made a gorgeous dish, with deep, woodsy flavors.
I used here a 2005 Block No. 45 Pinot Noir from California, both with the mushrooms and in my glass. It has a wonderful earthiness that's perfect with mushrooms. While the Block No. 45 is from Cali, it's flavors of black cherry tea are typical of many of the Oregon and Burgundy pinot noirs that I love. Look for some next time you're featuring mushrooms. Some of my favorites are Cloudline, Anne Amie Cuvee, Chehalem 3 Vineyard, and Brandborg (these are all Oregon wines). Enjoy!