Shiitake mushrooms are among my favorites. Their meaty chewiness is so satisfying and they are incredibly good for you as well. Shiitake mushrooms contain twice the protein of other mushrooms, making them a great choice for vegans and vegetarians, and researchers have found that a raw shiitake eaten daily for a week lowered serum cholesterol by 12%. Other health claims attributed to shiitakes include anti-cancer properties, and boosts to the immune system.
But really, I eat them because... I simply like them.
(I made a few changes to the original recipe as published in the book "Simply In Season" by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. Despite my love of the toothsome texture of shiitake mushrooms, I wasn't fond of the appearance of the finished sauce as written in this recipe. I chose to puree everything into a sauce in the blender, and I think the choice was a good one. It's up to you to decide what kind of texture and look that you prefer; the flavor is the same no matter what, but I think the dish looks more appealing when the sauce is blended.)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2-1/2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons sherry or broth (I like to make a quick shiitake broth from the mushrooms' stems and a garlic clove in one cup of water while the mushrooms and onions are sauteeing. This really brings out the shiitake flavor in the finished sauce.)
- 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup water or broth
- 1 cup plain yogurt at room temperature
Stir in sherry or broth. Turn heat to low and slowly sprinkle in flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until all flour is incorporated.
Add garlic and black pepper and continue to cook and stir over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
Stir water or broth, and room temperature yogurt, whisk until completely incorporated and heated throughout. Serve over hot cooked pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
** See above - I made some changes to this recipe; I prefer the sauce to be smooth and blended.
Serves 4 to 6.