When I realize the dishes I’ve been cooking are either starting to look the same every time or just backsliding into the boring (or actually I’m simply having cereal for dinner), I know it’s time to invest in a new cookbook/look into some older ones I’ve forgotten, or go grocery shopping for something good. Take-away is a sorry way out. Avoiding it also makes me feel like a better person, by some odd line of reason. So, grocery shopping was what I did last Friday at Borough Market – where there was lots to drink, taste, ogle at and buy of course. Foodies familiar with Borough Market will know that it’s not simply a fresh produce heaven, it’s also a mushroom heaven. I was so thrilled being able to find a couple of stores selling a wide range of wild and exotic mushrooms; indulging myself, I bought a lovely bag of assorted types – one of my favourites being the oyster mushroom and the king oyster (which my mum uses a lot in Korean cooking actually). I saw a stall selling a range of Japanese shimeiji mushrooms too which would be good for my miso soup. A little pricey but that comes with having to import them I believe.
With mushrooms, it’s always good to have them fresh as once they start to go mucky, it’ll affect the taste. Of course, it starts to look less visually appealing as well. So storing them in a dry part of your fridge is ideal. Make sure you haven’t put them next to anything wet or if you’ve left them in those supermarket plastic boxes with a clingwrap top, make sure no condensation has collected underneath the plastic wrap which could drip onto the mushrooms. This will mean they’ll start to decompose quite quickly in the fridge. You want them dry, smooth and springy to touch.
When I first bought the fresh pasta, I kept calling it ravioli and then tortellini which is a mistake. Ravioli – because I’ve been wanting to get a pasta machine and make giant ravioli filled with all sorts of weird wonderful fillings (like a little goblin, it’s been hiding in the back of my mind so much a lot of the stuff I talk about tends towards ravioli which leaves people around me very puzzled). Tortellini because I never knew there was a difference between tortellini and tortelloni. They both look the same. Apparently the sizes and weight differ, from 2g to 5g respectively and tortellini is more often served with broth and not tortelloni. Did you also know, according to the story behind tortellini/loni, that this lovely pasta was very likely inspired by a woman’s navel? Learn something new every day! The beetroot tortelloni is from La Tua Pasta (website is here) and I found its lovely stall, manned by 2 beautiful European men, next to the Empanadas one. To find it, just leave the Green Market, head to the bit selling all the chocolates and patisseries and then turn left which will bring you out into the open.
There’s another stall selling fresh pasta too but there didn’t seem to be much of a range in my opinion. If you’re feeling very decadent, try the squid ink tortelloni stuffed with cheese and crab meat. It looks positively divine and something very similar to one I tried in Spain (why Spain, I don’t know but it was a very good handmade pasta Italian restaurant) – careful though as it’s £9.50 a pop. So if you do try it, would love to hear from you how it is!
beautiful fresh handmade tortelloni that needs to be eaten within 3 days
This beetroot tortelloni has been stuffed with beetroot, ricotta and grana cheese, nutmeg and bread crumbs. I wanted something a little different from the usual sage and butter combo and so tried out marjoram which goes great with mushrooms. I used red onions as well because of its mildly sweet flavour which worked good with the almost citrusy tanginess of the beetroot. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to taste the mushrooms with the onions and the beetroot but thankfully it worked and I thought this dish was quite delicious. The final touch of butter definitely pulled it altogether.
Mushrooms and butter. Actually, butter to anything is always beautiful. I have a book about things to eat before you die. Can’t remember the author or the title right now. It’s sitting on my bookshelf at home and I can distinctly remember what it looks like but not who wrote it or what it’s called – which is really annoying! Anyhow, the writer visits this famous restaurant and talks about mashed potatoes and what is the secret behind getting it stiff but still creamy and amazing like cement paste. And what does the chef say? There’s no secret. There’s no mashing it up and pushing it through a sieve nonsense. It’s just a lot of butter.
Ah. There you go. Goodbye olive spreads, margarine and I can’t believe it’s not butter! nonsense. Butter’s good.
If you share my love of fresh pasta, mushrooms and real butter, why not try out this recipe? You don’t need specialty pasta just some fresh ingredients and you’ve got a quick and easy meal done.
I’ve decided to submit this post to the food event Beet ‘n’ Squash YOU — a monthly food- fight wherein the stupendous virtues of vegetables are extolled. You all know how much I love my vegetables and how crazed I am about mushrooms. This month, the event hosted on Gourmet Fury, boasts 2 lucky winners who will receive a super cute Winner’s badge and some Gourmet, Wild Dried Mushrooms from Untamed Feast. Totally exciting event! Go round and have a little gander ~ this month’s veggie is MUSHROOMS.
Recipe serves 2.
Beetroot Tortelloni with Wild Mushroom Medley
- 1 packet of tortelloni (about 6 pieces/serving)
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 large handfuls of various wild mushrooms, sliced
- sprig of fresh marjoram leaves
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 tbs butter
- olive oil, for cooking
- sea salt and ground black pepper, for seasoning
To prepare the mushrooms, I hear you should gently brush under water them to get rid of dirt and all that. I didn’t have a brush and I’m used to just lightly massaging the mushrooms under the running tap, making sure to get to the gills under the mushrooms. With the chanterells and oysters, simply trim off the ends, wash and dab off excess moisture before frying.
Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic, sauté. Add the red onions next and give it a quick stir. Once it starts to soften a little, move to side of pan, add the mushrooms and cook. Stir fry everything for a few minutes then add the marjoram. Season well. Set aside whilst you cook the pasta.
For the pasta, simply cook for 4-5 mins in boiling water. Drain off and pour into the frying pan. Give it a good toss, season a little more if needed. Add the parsley and salted butter. Give it one final toss to mix everything well. Then serve and tuck in.