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January, 2010

Positively Ageless Mushrooms

By Cheryl Forberg

For many diehard white flour and processed food fans, my recommendation to “lose the white stuff” is tough to swallow
.
Porcini
After all, most of us have been raised eating lots of comfort foods made from white flour, white sugar and the like. But when people ask me what is the one thing they can do to get the scale moving downward, lose the white stuff is my standard response. It may make you feel full initially, but the jump and subsequent drop in your insulin and blood sugar winds up leaving you hungrier than ever, with no nutritional benefits. Whole grains on the other hand, are nutrient-rich, and the fiber they contain not only slows the release of blood sugar, it also increases satiety or fullness.

White flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice – all started off well enough as whole grains. But through processing and refining, most of the fiber, nutrients and antioxidants were removed, leaving little nutritive value, but plenty of calories. There are many new whole grain pastas on the market that have made great strides in adding flavor in texture. I recently discovered white whole wheat flour, and decided to put it to the test making my own pasta. In this recipe, I substituted ¼ of the flour with rich, earthy mushroom flavor, in the form of a very fine powder I made by grinding dried porcini. The pasta dough is as intense in color as it is in flavor in this delicious, chewy pasta dough. I used two different mushrooms in the veggie “sauce” and a splash of vibrant green from chopped arugula. You can use whichever mushrooms you prefer – or add chopped broccoli raab instead of the arugula. Either way, you’ll get an intensely flavorful dish, rich in texture and absolutely loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.

Whole Grain Porcini Pasta

Whole Grain Porcini Pasta
Feel free to substitute different dried mushrooms in the pasta dough. Makes 4 large portions or 8 appetizer size portions.

Ingredients:
For the pasta:

1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
2 (1/2 oz.) pkgs. Melissa’s Dried Porcini Mushrooms, ground to fine powder (about ½ cup)
3/4 teaspoon Melissa’s Organic Garlic Herb Sea Salt Grinder
3 whole eggs

For the vegetables:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced (stems removed and discarded)
2 Tbsp.shallots, chopped
3/4 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups arugula, chopped, or 8 ounces broccolli raab, cut in 4 inch lengths and blanched
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Garnish:
Italian parsley
Melissa’s Truffle Oil (optional)

Directions:
To make the pasta
:
1. Mound the flour, porcini powder and Garlic Herb Sea Salt on a clean work surface and make a large deep well into the center. Crack the eggs into the well.
2. Gradually incorporate the flour from the sides of the well into the eggs. Work the ingredients together until it forms a rough and sticky ball. If dough is too sticky, add a small amount of flour. If dough is too dry, add a few drops of cold water.
3. Scrape the dough that sticks to the countertop or cutting board and press the dough into a rough ball and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be very smooth and elastic. There will be about 14 ounces of pasta dough.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.
5. Unwrap the ball of dough and cut into 4 pieces keeping the remainder wrapped in plastic wrap. Flatten the piece of dough into a rough rectangle.
6. Following your pasta machine manufacturer's instructions, feed the flattened piece of dough into the machine. Fold the dough into thirds, then feed again into the machine. Repeat folding and rolling two additional times.
7. Increase the roller setting one notch. Sprinkle the pasta lightly with flour if necessary (may not be needed) and feed through the rollers again, unfolded.
8. Turn the roller setting another notch and repeat the rolling, then continue without folding the dough until you get to the 5th setting. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
9. Cut the pasta into tagliatelle or fettuccini.
10. Set aside.

To make the pasta with porcinis:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-heat in a non stick sauté pan. Add shallots and fresh mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes until mushrooms and shallots are soft but not browned.
3. Add broth and season with Garlic Herb Sea Salt seasoning. Turn heat to low and stir.
4. Place fresh pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente. Watch the pasta carefully because it takes only two to three minutes for the pasta to cook to al dente.
5. Add arugula, or raab, to mushrooms. Drain pasta and toss with vegetables. Divide between four plates. Top with fresh parsley and grated cheese.
6. Add drizzle of Melissa’s Truffle Oil if desired.

Nutrition Facts for one large entrée-size portion:
Calories 390
Total Fat g 9
Sat Fat g 2.5
Cholesterol mg 165
Sodium mg 210
Total Carb g 49
Dietary Fiber g 12
Sugar g 2
Protein g 19