Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recipe: Heather's Portobello Mushroom Gnocchi

As a vegetarian, mushrooms are a staple in my diet.  I put button mushrooms in salads or make veggie burgers out of them.  I fry them.  I stir fry them.  To be honest, I couldn't live without them.  However, portobello mushrooms are a completely different animal.  I'm generally not a fan of their taste or texture (please, friends, don't ever try and feed me a grilled mushroom cap), but I do love them in pasta dishes.  (a la Olive Garden ravioli - so bad for you but so good)

My friend Heather came to my super fabulous Valentine's Day party the other night and not only did she bring the most fun game ever - left, right center - but she also brought me some of her delicious vegetarian portobello mushroom gnocchi.  She'd made it awhile back for one of her other vegetarian friends and said that it went over well, and another one of my friends made the recipe and echoed a similar sentiment.  So...I decided to be adventurous and try and make this pasta dish myself after I got to sample how delicious it is. (and relatively simple to make!)

1 pound of gnocchi (I used the frozen kind but Heather recommends the freeze dried kind sold in the pasta aisle of a grocery store near you)
2 shallots, minced
1 pound of mushrooms, sliced.  (I used baby bellas - pre-sliced at the grocery store)
half pint of heavy cream (1 cup, folks)
3/4 cup vegetable stock or broth
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves pressed garlic
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.  
2. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until brown and lovely (Heather says this takes 10 minutes, but it took me closer to 20) 
3. Cook the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Set aside.
4. Add the vermouth and cook until evaporated.
5. Add the stock, cream, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cook until bubbling and it starts to thicken.
6. Add the cooked gnocci and cook until bubbling again.
7. Add the parmesan cheese and cook until sauce is creamy and yummy.

Variations: (from my friend Heather)
I love to broil everything, so I poured everything into a cake pan, drizzed with more parmesan cheese, and placed under the broiler for 4 minutes until it was bubbly and golden.  If I had an oven-safe skillet, I would have thrown the whole skillet in the broiler.

The finished product:

I really don't think I can put into words how delicious this pasta dish is.  I could have eaten the entire pan of it myself, but luckily I had someone to share it with.  My meat-a-tarian friend couldn't stop raving about it either.  As he said, this is a dish that you could make to impress someone, because it has such a great flavor, texture, etc., and if you didn't know better, you'd think this is really difficult to make.

Dear readers, do you have any recipes like this one?  Something with complex flavors that can "wow" your guests but is really simple to make?  I'd love to hear about them, so that once I have furniture in my house, I can have a dinner party.  Or a left center right/dinner party!

Note: Since I first made this recipe, I've been able to make it "healthier" by cutting down on the oil and using Earth Balance.  I've veganized it by making it without cream, too, and it tastes pretty good.  Or you can also use MimicCreme instead of dairy cream.  And obviously leave off the cheese if you're a vegan.

1 comment:

  1. So glad I remembered this recipe is here:) I've had a hankering for it.