Chronicle Kitchen: Creamy Triple-Mushroom Fettuccine with Walnuts
Robin Asbell has graciously provided a guest post for us again this week (we love to ask her, because we flat-out adore her recipes!).
What’s your take on going vegan? Are you hardcore, or have you made a point of incorporating less meat and dairy into your diet? Try out this recipe and let us know what you think. Happy vegan eating!
Big Vegan launched in October and, since then, I’ve had plentiful opportunities to meet people at book signings, cooking classes, and events. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement, with packed classes and platters full of samples devoured by a hungry public. I’ve learned a great deal in these past four months, and had fun doing it. Veganism is definitely on the move.
One of the most positive trends that I am seeing is the awareness of veganism, and a growing positive attitude. While many of the shoppers who stop for a taste may feel that they are never going to commit all the way, they do eat vegan as part of their varied diets. It’s been extremely gratifying to see how much people like the dishes we make from Big Vegan, just because they taste good. And from talking to them, I’m finding that it’s not so unusual to have meatless meals, even among meat-lovers. Vegan is creeping into the mainstream, and is seen as a really healthy alternative.
This anecdotal evidence is borne out by the latest survey from the Vegetarian Resource Group, which found that 2.5% of Americans are Vegan, 5% are vegetarian, and about a third eat meatless often. The numbers of vegans have never been estimated at above a percent before, so that is a big change. But the interesting thing is that there are so many more people eating vegan some of the time.
So if you are one of the people who want to try eating more plants, but not commit to anything, Big Vegan is for you. All the recipes were tested and approved by an assortment of omnivores. Join the Meatless Monday movement and go vegan once a week.
One example of a meat-lover friendly dish is my recipe for Triple Mushroom Creamy Fettucine with Walnuts. It’s a dish I put together to show how you can use plant-based foods to create a real sense of meatiness. The Japanese call it Umami, we call it the fifth taste, and it comes from an assortment of amino acids and chemicals that are high in meat, but also in certain plants. Dried and fresh mushrooms, tomato paste, wine, nutritional yeast, and seitan all contribute extra umami to this dish.
I hope you will give it a try. Eat more plants, whatever your diet style, and you will feel great!
Creamy Triple-Mushroom Fettuccine with Walnuts
This pasta is an opportunity to amplify and showcase the umami of mushrooms, with layer after layer of intense mushroom flavor. For the fungus lovers among us, this creamy, meaty pasta is a plateful of heaven.
2 small dried mushrooms (any variety)
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose/plain flour
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz/225 g seitan, thinly sliced
3 oz/75 g fresh shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups/360 ml plain soymilk or other milk
1/4 cup/60 ml white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste/tomato puree
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp white miso
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne
1 pinch ground turmeric
1/2 cup/15 g fresh parsley or basil
1/2 tsp salt
Olive oil spray
8 oz/225 g fresh portobello caps, thinly sliced
8 oz/225 g dried fettuccine
1/4 cup/30 g chopped walnuts, toasted
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta. In a spice or coffee grinder, grind the dried mushrooms to a fine powder. Put them in a small bowl and stir in the flour. Reserve.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the seitan and shiitakes and stir until browned, then add the garlic. When the vegetables starts to sizzle, sprinkle them with the flour mixture and stir to combine. Keep stirring and scraping until the flour is well moistened and the mushroom powder is very fragrant.
3. As the mushroom-seitan mixture cooks, whisk together the soymilk, wine, tomato paste/puree, yeast, miso, nutmeg, cayenne, and turmeric in a measuring cup. Remove the pan from the heat and use a heat-safe spatula to stir in about one fourth of the soymilk mixture until smooth. Continue to add the soymilk mixture in fourths, stirring after each addition until all is incorporated. Stir in the parsley and salt and keep warm.
4. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, spray it with oil and sear the portobello mushroom slices, stirring as they shrink and brown. Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions and drain well.
5. In a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the hot sauce. Top with the seared mushrooms, sprinkle with the toasted walnuts, and serve.
You can find Big Vegan here.
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