Dietitian's tip: With its mix of mushrooms, this vegetarian pasta takes on an almost meaty flavor. If you can't find cremini mushrooms, use portobellos. Dried porcini mushrooms (found in the produce aisle) lend depth to the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean and thinly sliced
- 3/4 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
- 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 9 ounces fresh linguine or 1/2 pound dried linguine
In a small, heat-proof glass measuring pitcher or bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and 1 cup boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Line a fine-mesh sieve with a paper coffee filter or cheesecloth (muslin) and strain the mushroom-soaking liquid to remove the grit; reserve the liquid.
In a large saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute until they brown around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cremini mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, reserved soaking liquid, stock and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the butter, chopped thyme, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente (tender), 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly.
Divide the pasta among warmed individual shallow bowls and top with the mushroom sauce. Garnish with the fresh thyme sprigs.