Thursday, July 31, 2008


i am a bit curious.

when you saw the word "buckwheat"...what came to mind?

did you think of soba? pancakes? breton crepes? did you think of a character from the little rascals?

did you think of fresh pasta?

i bet you didn't. well, neither did i.

i was very intrigued when i saw this at a local market. more often than not, when i become intrigued...i buy... and then figure something out later. the figuring out part is what happened yesterday. while i was waiting for my work computer to upload a seemingly gigantic boat load of files (which really shouldn't have taken as long as it did...but that is another non-food related story), i decided to take a moment and contemplate fresh buckwheat pasta.

inspiration is a bit odd sometimes. i was thinking of buckwheat and was thinking about the breton-style buckwheat crepes at ti couz and naturally, one of my favorite crepes they do is a mushroom crepe. thinking about the crepes made me realize that despite my mushroom obsession i haven't made anything mushroom-related since i returned from my last trip. that is like, a month without mushrooms (since i didn't have any on my 2 1/2 week trip).
qu'elle horror!

naturally, this must be remedied.

i sliced and roasted a melody of mushrooms (
trumpet royale, forest nameko, alba clamshell, brown clamshell, and shiitake) with some whole cloves of garlic.

i also decided to add a significantly larger amount of kalamata olive oil than usual as i wanted to use the oil infused with the mushrooms and garlic as the foundation for my pasta sauce. i also dried some fresh basil this week, so i crushed a few dried leaves and added the basil along with some kosher salt to the mushrooms. i definitely prefer to use dried herbs when i am roasting....and i absolutely prefer drying my own over the store bought kind. the potency is amazingly different.

once the seasoned mushrooms and garlic were done, i removed the mushrooms and garlic and set it aside.

then i poured the oil used to roast the mushrooms and garlic into a hot pan. then i added a couple of slices of anchovies ...once that disintegrated...i added some chili flakes.. well, quite a lot of chili flakes...and then after a few swirls.....i added am extra large nub of butter (plugra - salted), the roasted mushrooms/garlic mixture, and a very large handful of arugula. sometimes, i'll only add the arugula at the end of a hot dish so that it will just wilt from the heat and still have that strong pepper/bitter bite... but this time, i wanted to actually fry up the arugula to see how that would impact the oil/ well as temper the arugula bite. ( can click on any of these pictures to see them larger....)

then i added the quickly cooked fresh buckwheat pasta. notice how the color of the pasta lighted up dramatically when it was cooked...

after the pasta tossed and ready i plated it in my sunny kitchen.

this turned out wonderfully. i'm actually having it again---right now. for lunch. yuummmmmmooooo. the buckwheat pasta has a bit of a nutty flavor which is complemented by the heartiness of the roasted mushrooms. also, i love having whole roasted garlic cloves in pasta....they are like a surprise when you bite into one and it completely alters the flavor of that particular bite. there is nothing subtle about this dish. it is very impertinent.....with very strong flavors, rich, hearty, spicy, and supremely satisfying.

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