Sixty degrees, the twenty-third of October in Rockland, Maine, at noon. Fewer than a dozen very young children and their parents on the playground behind the library, next to the Episcopal Church, under a wispy, filtered sky. The mostly-gone leaves are orange and crackling with the end of their energy cycle. It is neither warm nor cold. The children are all scrambling up walls and down slides, swinging and hiding. The parents are following, seeking, laughing all together. Some join the group and some go. Everyone is wearing sweaters.
It feels like a village. This sort of idyllic autumn day makes me feel like cooking something wonderful, nourishing, earthy and rich with butter, mushrooms and cheese. The egg noodles I found at the market were packaged as “old fashioned” which meant they were short and not as wide as really yellow egg noodles. I think fettuccine would also work well. I used a Gruner Vertliner wine and I like a dash of smoked paprika with mushrooms, but feel free to omit the tiny bit of spice and add whatever wine you have, including vermouth. You could also leave booze out altogether, and add more stock. This dish strikes a great balance between the green and the brown, the herbs and the fungus of the forest. It is delicious. It is the absolute right thing to make right now.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 oz mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup cubed fontina cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 lb egg noodles
- In a large sauté pan over a medium-high flame, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms to the pan, stir frequently, 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, paprika. Add half the butter, the shallots and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and wine and let the sauce come to a simmer. Stir in the fontina cheese and allow it to melt. Add the remaining butter, Asiago, basil, parsley, and thyme. Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions in salted water. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup cooking liquid. In the cooking pot combine egg noodles and sauce. Sauce with thicken as it stands. Serve with dry white wine and green salad.
Adapted from a recipe in the New York Times Cook Book.