Post-WFL Sunday Family Dinner: Wild Mushrooms!

IMG_5445The route for the West Coast Walk for Life begins at Civic Plaza in San Francisco, and follows Market Street all the way to the Ferry Terminal building on the Embarcadero. A few years ago, the Ferry Terminal Building was rehabbed into a wonderful permanent food market, with provisions that are Pure Unobtanium closer to home, since sadly home for me is not the Shire. It is quite felicitous that we had adequate time to go inside and stock up on some things before walking back to our bus.

My wife’s been pining for me to make Pasta ai Funghi ever since she had it in Rome, and this week’s Sunday Family Dinner was in her honor. The pork chop recipe is an Adventure in Pork, thanks to Salumi.

Pasta Ai Funghi

Serves Four


12 ounces fresh long-stranded pasta, preferably tagliatelle
10 ounces butter
 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6-8 ounces wild mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp. chopped chive
2 tbsp. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
4 ounces dry white wine
6 ounces chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste


1. Set 4 to 6 quarts of salted water to boiling in a stock pot

2. Melt half the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and shallot and lightly sauté.

3. Raise the heat to high and add the mushrooms to the skillet, sauté until mushrooms have released some of their liquid and begin to brown. Add some salt and pepper.

4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and chicken stock, and set to a medium simmer. Allow the liquid to reduce slightly.

5. Cook the fresh pasta according to the instructions, but leaving a minute or two off the cooking. Transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet, add several ladles of pasta water to the skillet and return to the heat, stirring the pasta into the sauce and incorporating it. Add the remaining butter and check the seasoning.

6. Once the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce and is al dente, transfer to a warm pasta dish, garnish with the chives, parsley, pepper and cheese.

Serve immediately.


Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Arugula

Serves four


For the chops:
8 4-0unce center-cut, loin, or sirloin pork chops, boneless
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper, onion and garlic powder

For the sauce:
16 ounces wild mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
6 ounces butter
8 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces brandy
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. Italian parsely, finely chopped

For the garnish:
8 ounces rinsed and dried Arugula leaves


IMG_54481. Coat the chops in the vegetable oil, and season with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet until smoking and cook the chops on each side until they form a brown (not black) crust, turn and cook through to 160 degrees.

3. Array the arugula leaves on your serving platter, and placed the cooked chops over the arugula.

4. In the same skillet, melt the butter, sauté the garlic and shallots briefly, raise heat and add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook until mushrooms have released some of their liquid and have browned, stirring at 30 second intervals.

IMG_54535. Deglaze the skillet with the brandy, allow the alcohol to burn off and add the whipping cream, salt and pepper, continue to cook the sauce and mushrooms at medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced slightly. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Transfer the finished sauce and mushrooms over the chops and bed of arugula, and garnish with Italian parsley, pepper, and a thyme sprig.



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