Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Caramelized Shallots, Thyme, and Mushroom Broth

About 4 weeks ago, a package arrived via Fed Ex. After looking at the return label I knew what was inside, but was surprised at how large (16” square) this box was. I opened it and saw that it was lined with an inch of Styrofoam on each side, then some crumpled brown paper, then a couple of ice packs, then… voilá! A 4” x 8” package of Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti!

Being Earth Week, and being the kind of reuse/recycle person I am, I couldn’t help but wonder why such a large box was used for a small package of pasta. But, also because I am a reuse/recycle person, you may be assured that I will be reusing and recycling the various parts of this box to within an inch of their little recyclable lives.

Because I had a nasty cold when the pasta arrived, I placed it in the refrigerator to await another day.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been reading my bog regularly, you will know that this cold proceeded to get worse, then it turned into a severe asthma attack necessitating two trips to the doctor’s office for breathing treatments (one on my birthday! *whine*), then a few weeks of recovery. During this time I cooked very little, both because I was tired and coughing and wheezing, but also because food tasted weird to me. Probably due to the medication, and I give Jack lots of credit for eating the simple, quick meals which I made without a single complaint.

As I started to feel better I became preoccupied with a backlog of stuff that had been tossed aside awaiting my recovery. Occasionally I would see the agnolotti in the refrigerator and think that I just had to figure out a really wonderful way to make this pasta, but my creativity was fairly nonexistent. Yes, I could have simply tossed the pasta with some olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan but that seemed rather unexciting. Then, as the asparagus in the garden started to grow, I was considering a sauce based on that since mushrooms and asparagus taste so heavenly together. But, as I said, I just didn’t feel like doing it.

Then I saw a recipe on the Foodbuzz site posted by Chefectomy (Marc) for Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Caramelized Shallots, Thyme, and Mushroom Broth. This caught my eye because I actually had shallots on hand, and a mushroom-and-wine broth was used rather than a heavier, cream-based sauce.

This really was a quick recipe and so very, very delicious. Both Jack and I swooned. The mushroom broth was a perfect compliment to the agnolotti filling, and the cremini mushrooms, caramelized onions and thyme brought it all together into a wonderful blend of flavors.

I had some fat asparagus spears which I had just picked that afternoon in the garden. Seeing that this meal needed a vegetable, I steamed them, tossed with some fresh lemon juice, and served the asparagus in the same bowl as the pasta. Excellent. On the side, a few slices of the Olive Oil-Rosemary Boulé which I had baked a few days earlier (seriously, even though I was too wiped to cook, I’d have to be dead not to bake bread. Hey, I rhymed!). :p

On a scale of one to ten, Marc’s recipe rates a twelve! And, even though I have never bought fresh stuffed pasta before (I try to convinice myself that it's really not so difficult to make it...), I will certainly be purchasing this again. In fact, I'm not even going to try to get creative with the wild mushroom agnolotti, when this recipe is such a perfect way to prepare it.

And I really believe that it was this particular recipe which started my culinary recovery. The evening after I made this, we had the primavera with seared seafood (previous post), and I now have a backlog of some pretty incredible recipes to get typed into the computer and posted here. So stay tuned, I’m back!

Oh, and for those who asked, I’m running again as of last Saturday (exactly one month since I last went out). A wimpy 2 miles, but I did it and was breathing rather normally. And breathing is good! :)


Laura said...

OK so I confess I would feel the urge to drizzle a tad of cream into this, but it looks excellent. Great flavors--now I wish my package wasn't all gone!

Vicci said...

Laura, buy more! :)
Oh, and I really think that the cream would add a nice, silky texture (and that very desirable creamy mouth-feel) but this broth was pretty incredible as it was.