Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Food for Thought: Mushroom pasta for fall

"The nicest thing happened last Thursday," I told Nancy Leson. It was Broadway Farmers Market day, happening right outside the door of our new Tacoma studios.

And what a nice surprise a market shopper gave to me that morning.

KNKX fan Diane dropped by the studio to gift me with a paper bag full of a beautiful assortment of mushrooms she’d gotten from market vendor Adam’s Mushrooms

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Just some of the 'shrooms at Adam's.

There were fresh shiitakes, oyster, cauliflower, and others. But what to do with them? Then I remembered this recipe for mushroom pasta with pancetta and shallots and wilted greens. I liked it because of the flavor combination and because the pasta is cooked directly in the chicken stock, infusing it with flavor and the stock with the pasta’s starch for more body.

My tweaks

The original recipe calls for shiitakes, but I’m sure it would be fine with plain old regular creminis from the supermarket. If you don't have pancetta, just use regular bacon. And, though it calls for the pasta to be cooked in the same skillet as the pancetta and mushrooms, I recommendusing a separate narrower pot. I explain why in the segment.

I’ve never gone mushroom hunting but Nancy sure has. And she doesn't hesitate to brag about her scores. 

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Nancy's son Nate in the first scene of a Grimm's tale.

 Go ahead and wash 'em

Finally, don’t believe the myth that mushrooms absorb water like sponges if you wash them. Try it for yourself: Weigh a batch, then soak them in a pot of water for an hour and weigh again. You'll find they've gained only the tiniest amount of water weight. And, as Nancy points out, they're 90 percent water anyway.

"All mushroom are edible but some only once."  - Croation proverb

Dick Stein has been with KNKX since January, 1992. His duties include hosting the morning jazz show and co-hosting and producing the Food for Thought feature with the Seattle Times’ Nancy Leson. He was writer and director of the three Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen. Previous occupations include the USAF, radio call-in show host, country, classical and top-40 DJ, chimney sweep, window washer and advertising copywriter.