Monday, February 18, 2008

Wild Mushroom Mac 'n Cheese

Wild Mushroom Mac ‘n Cheese
From Gourmet Magazine, February 2008 issue

Hands on time: 2 hours plus
Baking time: 30 minutes

Serves 6-8 (ingredients are for 13”x8” oven-proof deep dish pan)

Mushroom Mixture:

1 oz/3g dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1 cup boiling water
2 medium leeks (white & pale green parts only)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sliced fresh shitake mushroom caps
2 cups sliced fresh cremini mushrooms
½ cup diced fresh Portobello mushroom cap (scraped of black gills)
Note: I didn’t exactly measure the amount of individual types of fresh mushrooms but they did equal about 4 cups in total
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream (I used 2% evaporated milk…ridiculous I know given I used all the butter it called for)
Salt & pepper to taste

Mac ‘n cheese:
½ lb/500g elbow macaroni (I didn’t have any –even with 3 trips to the store so I used multigrain fusilli)
3 cups whole milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
5 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used white) divided as per instructions below


1. Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.

2. In the meantime, clean the leeks…cut off the root, darker green part and outer skin, slice in half lengthwise and rinse well under cold water, flipping the layers apart to make sure there’s no dirt. Dry and thinly slice across.

3. Strain the porcini through a cheese cloth or paper towel lined sieve over a bowl. Reserve the liquid, squeezing as much liquid as you can into the sieve. Rinse the mushrooms to make sure there’s no silt or dirt and chop.

4. In a large skillet, sauté the leeks in butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender (about 10 minutes). Increase the heat to high and add all the mushrooms, the reserved soaking liquid and wine and toss well. Stir occasionally until the mushroom are softened (about 5 minutes). Strain again through clean sieve over a measuring cup or bowl and press hard on the mushrooms. Set aside the mushrooms and return the liquid to the skillet. Boil until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup (5 minutes or so) Add the cream (or evaporated milk) and boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until thickened (3-5 minutes). Add the mushrooms with salt & pepper and boil, stirring for a minute.

5. Transfer to an oven proof dish (I used a medium sized “lasagna” pan)

Mac ‘n Cheese:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C

2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

For the Béchamel sauce:
3. Heat the milk in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat until the milk is hot.

4. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over medium low heat and then add the flour. Whisk for about 3 minutes to “cook” the flour. Whisk in the hot milk slowly to avoid lumps. Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper and whisk constantly over medium heat for another 2 minutes or so (the sauce will thicken and boil a bit). Whisk in 3 cups of the grated cheese until melted.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the pasta and an additional 1 ½ cups of cheese. Spread over the mushroom mixture in the oven proof dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake until golden (about 30 minutes).

It’s very rich so all you need is a really simple salad

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