So I've got this smoker now, right? And I must admit, I'm slightly obsessed with it. It's a lot of fun to play around with, and I've been researching all sorts of things to throw in there and try.
This week, it was garlic. I used hickory wood and smoked a few heads of fresh local garlic. And let me tell you - FANTASTIC! I just tossed them in some olive oil, some kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper, threw it in the smoker, and smoked it for about 45 minutes. It came out perfectly!
So I wanted a dish to highlight this great ingredient, so I decided to try a cream sauce with pasta. Boy, is this a great dish. The smoked garlic sits center stage, yet it has the hearty flavor of the fresh baby bella mushrooms, as well as the shiitakes, to back it up.
But don't worry - if you don't have access to any smoked garlic, go ahead and substitute your standard roasted garlic. The flavor will be much different, but will still be delicious. Either way you make this, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Mushroom and Smoked Garlic Cream Sauce
1/4 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4 c hot water
2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 entire head smoked garlic (or roasted garlic)
1 cup heavy cream (or soy creamer)
Salt and pepper
8 oz dried pasta, prepared according to directions (I used Campanelle)
In a small bowl, cover dried shiitake mushrooms with hot water. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. While those are soaking, clean and chop the baby bella mushrooms. Drain reconstituted mushrooms, saving the soaking water. Finely chop reconstituted mushrooms and set aside. Peel head of garlic and place cloves into food processor. Add heavy cream and process for about 30 seconds. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add baby bella and shiitake mushrooms, and saute for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften up. Add the mushroom soaking water and the garlic-cream mixture, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer until mixture reduces and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. (If you are inpatient, whisk 1 tsp of cornstarch into a tbsp or two of additional heavy cream, add to sauce, and simmer a minute or two until thickened). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over prepared pasta.