RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

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RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:23 pm

Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

I keep threatening to make a savory dish using shelled pistachios, and what I have in mind is something like a textured pistachio cream, maybe studded with ... something else? Over rice? Pasta? This is clearly still a work in progress.

In preparation for it, I recently shelled a good quantity of pistachios and have them stored in a tightly sealed glass jar. Tonight, in the mood to fashion an intense mushroom sauce for pasta, I decided to garnish it with some of the pistachios, and I'm happy to say it worked out very well.

It's still a mushroom sauce with pistachios, though, not a pistachio sauce, but never mind. It was good, and it went beautifully with a funky artisanal Loire delight, Puzelat-Bonhomme 2012 Touraine Pinot Noir. Here's how it came together:

1. The dish was simple, but did take a few steps, which was fine with me. I was ready to move into the kitchen and a completely different creative mode after spending most of the day writing on such disparate projects as a wine column and a sermon for Advent 1A.

2. I started by de-stemming about two dozen crimini mushrooms, slicing the mushrooms thick, and placing the stems into 2 cups lightly salted water with a brown onion skin and garlic cloves.

3. I simmered those for 20 minutes to create a mushroom-veggie stock, which I strained and set aside, discarding the veggies.

4. Also in advance I had shelled about 1/2 cup pistachios. I set aside about six of these for garnish, lightly chopped the rest, and soaked the chopped nuts briefly in water to cut back on their saltiness.

5. Meanwhile, melted 1 ounce butter in a skillet and sauted half of a sweet onion, coarsely chopped, and 2 garlic cloves minced fine, with a shake of dried red-pepper flakes, a grind of Telicherry black pepper and a sprinkle of kosher salt. After the onions and garlic started to brown, I added the sliced mushrooms and cooked them down (reserving a few for garnish first): then checked seasoning, and added 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon Heinz chili sauce for umami. Take off heat and set aside.

6. Started 4 ounces of Di Cecco fettuccine in copious salted water - it would need about 8 minutes to reach al dente.

7. Melt another tablespoon of butter in a saucier, then make a roux with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. When it's smooth but not yet turning brown, whisk in the hot mushroom broth, a little at a time, until it's a thick mushroom veloute. Stir in the reserved chopped and soaked pistachios, and use this sauce to dress the finished and drained pasta, garnishing with the reserved whole pistachios and mushroom slices.

The dish was fine, and indeed a delicious match with the Touraine Pinot. I'd still like to come up with a savory dish that really showcases pistachios, though. Any ideas?
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:35 am

Robin, how about an Indian korma? I've seen recipes where the sauce is thickened using ground almonds or cashews. Pistachios ought to work out nicely.

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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:44 am

Paul Winalski wrote:Robin, how about an Indian korma? I've seen recipes where the sauce is thickened using ground almonds or cashews. Pistachios ought to work out nicely.

Paul, I've done that with cashews now and then, and it makes an awesome "creamy" sauce.

I dunno. To me, pistachios have such a distinctive flavor than almonds and more interesting than cashews, I want to come up with something that lets them take the leading role in a (admittedly subtle) dish. Good idea, though!
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Fred Sipe » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:31 am

That looks great, Robin. I love intensely flavored mushroom concoctions and pistachios sound like a wonderful match.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:08 pm

I love cooking with pistachio's.....they bring a nice surprise to many dishes. My latest toy is a Nutri Bullet and I am loving making whole breakfast juices at home. Some of my favorite combos include pistachil nuts. I also use pistachios in muffins, and cookies.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:36 pm

Savory cooking with pistachios is something I would like but, other than crusting lamb chops, I can't think of one. So, sprinkle them in salads and make gelato... and be happy.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Jenise » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:37 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:Savory cooking with pistachios is something I would like but, other than crusting lamb chops, I can't think of one. So, sprinkle them in salads and make gelato... and be happy.


Pistachios braise beautifully and add an interesting textural component to a stew.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Fred Sipe » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:48 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I love cooking with pistachio's.....they bring a nice surprise to many dishes. My latest toy is a Nutri Bullet and I am loving making whole breakfast juices at home. Some of my favorite combos include pistachil nuts. I also use pistachios in muffins, and cookies.


Please do tell of your experience with the NutriBullet! I'd love to see a thread about that device and similar. I've been looking at those and the Ninja super duper blender that costs twice as much. I've been heading very much plant-based in the last month. Wish I could blow the bucks on a VitaMix.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:34 pm

I would think that pistachios might make a good replacement for almonds in bastilla, but that's not something that would easily be vegetarianized (or at least I don't think so?). They're also used in some tagines, so you might be able to come up with something along those lines. Searching along those lines showed one recipe for a sweet potato tagine with pistachios and fish. Maybe leave out the fish or do something else with pistachios and sweet potatoes?.

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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:43 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:I love cooking with pistachio's.....they bring a nice surprise to many dishes. My latest toy is a Nutri Bullet and I am loving making whole breakfast juices at home. Some of my favorite combos include pistachio nuts. I also use pistachios in muffins, and cookies.


Please do tell of your experience with the NutriBullet! I'd love to see a thread about that device and similar. I've been looking at those and the Ninja super duper blender that costs twice as much. I've been heading very much plant-based in the last month. Wish I could blow the bucks on a VitaMix.


I'm into my second week with the Nutri Bullet. Very powerful little unit, well made, and makes short work of what I put in it. I'm using kales, baby spinach, blueberries, pears, apples, avocado, lemon, pineapple,grapes, sweet potatoes, carrot, cabbage, frozen berries from my freezer, nuts, and I have found that liquid Agave is great for adding another layer of sweetness. After spending 5 bucks each time I went for a juice at my favorite juice bar, I decided to try the bullet at home. Much less costly that a Vita Mix and if I find that I am sticking to the juicing, I can always buy one later, when this unit has lived out it's time.
The bullet actually comes with a nice book which contains ideas for juice combos, an eating plan if you want to shed some pounds, detox, heart care, etc. I am just doing it because I like the increased energy it gives me, plus the feeling that I am doing something extra good for my body. Clean up is a breeze, no filters to scrape as it uses the whole fruit. You are warned to remove seeds from apples, and pits from other fruits. Apple seeds contain cyanide. The book has good information, and the info is not long and drawn out. A girlfriend bought one that same time I did, and her feelings about it are the same as mine. No complaints so far. I like the idea that they included two small cups and one large, plus a universal handle to fit all the cups. An extra blade attachment for milling is included too, but so far I find the nuts grind down well with an extra few seconds of blending. They are available through Amazon, Walmart and other places. I never shop Walmart, but my husband needed birdseed so he picked one up for me while there. I wanted to buy it from a local store, beccause some reviews said the Bullet company was not consumer friendly. Walmart said we could return it if we did not like it. It was under 100.00.
I will also be using ingredients which are in season. Right now a fave of mine is sweet potato, apples, pears, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. I'm playing with combinations right now, some have been better than others, but all have been healthy.
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Fred Sipe » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:54 pm

Karen, thanks for the additional info. Gonna pull the trigger on one soon. I recently became aware of "The China Study" and the movie "Forks Over Knives."

Very eye-opening!
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Re: RCP: Fettuccine in mushroom ragù with pistachios

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:28 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:Karen, thanks for the additional info. Gonna pull the trigger on one soon. I recently became aware of "The China Study" and the movie "Forks Over Knives."

Very eye-opening!

I read The China Study and yes, it is eye opening. Will have to look into Forks Over Knives......as soon as I read the one started in Nook, the other one started on Kindle, and the two I have in hardback. So many books, so little time! :(
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