Craving Sentimentality: Linguini with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Linguini & ShitakeSometimes my sentimentality gets a hold of me and expresses itself in the form of a new recipe. It’s that sentimentality (and a bag of shitake mushrooms) that’s behind today’s post.  There’s something about the texture of shitake mushrooms that reminds me of clams. I never enjoyed raw clams, but I did like them cooked in sauce and served over linguini. For Italians there are two camps with regards to clam sauce: red or white.You either like one or the other, usually not both. In another lifetime my preference was for a white clam sauce made with copious amounts of olive oil, garlic, white wine and parsley. Since I’m trying to limit the amount of oil in my recipes, I decided to put that recipe on the back burner and come up with a version that’s made with tomato sauce. For this recipe I used my technique of soaking shitake mushrooms in a nori seaweed broth to impart a taste of the sea to the mushrooms. The shitakes and the broth are then added to a garlicky marinara, cooked until thick and spooned over linguini.  My Linguini with Shitake Mushrooms satisfies not only my desire to make flavorful, healthy meals but also my craving for sentimentality. All I can say is “delizioso” . . . and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Linguini with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Makes about 1 quart of sauce

  • about 1 lb. shitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
  •  2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon “No Chicken” base
  • ½ sheet nori seaweed, crumbled
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil or water for sauteeing
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • Salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. linguini, spaghetti or fettucine

Take a 4 quart container and fill it half way with water and add bouillon and nori seaweed. Add enough chopped shitake mushrooms to fill up the remaining volume in the container (about 2 cups). Let soak for about 30 minutes.

While shitakes are soaking, prepare sauce. In medium saucepot, brown garlic in olive oil or water. Add tomatoes, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and seaweed broth and continue simmering until mushrooms are soft and sauce is thick. Season with salt, black pepper, red pepper and parsley.

While sauce is simmering, cook linguini according to package directions. Ladle the sauce over the pasta. If you want to cook the pasta in the sauce, boil the pasta for 2 minutes less and reserve a cup of the cooking liquid before draining. Return the pasta to the pot and add some of the sauce, adding enough water to keep the pasta from sticking. Simmer for 2 minutes. Serve with additional sauce if desired.

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