Local Chef Spotlight: Carla Lalli Music on her Newest Cookbook
Podcast |
All Of It
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WNYC Studios
Media Type |
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Society & Culture
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Performing Arts
Publication Date |
Nov 25, 2021
Episode Duration |

[REBROADCAST FROM October 20, 2021] James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Carla Lalli Music joins us to discuss her new book, That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week. In the new cookbook, Lalli Music splits the recipes between weekday and weekend cooking so that you can make great food no matter how much time you have.


Fat Noodles with Pan-Roasted Mushrooms and Crushed Herb Sauce

4 to 6 servings

This method of cooking mushrooms—by pan-roasting them, then finishing with browned butter—is incredibly effective, whether you’re adding them to pasta or not. In the second step, the butter and aromatics wash a ton of flavor over the mushrooms, glossing them up.

Kosher salt; freshly ground pepper6 garlic cloves, divided1 lemon½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided1 teaspoon mild chile flakes, such as Aleppo pepper1 shallot1 pound maitake mushroomsChunk of Parmigiano, for grating and serving2 cups lightly packed herbs (leaves and tender stems), such as parsley, mint, and/or arugula2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 pound wide pasta noodles, such as lasagnette or pappardelle

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season it very aggressively with salt (figure ¼ cup salt per 6 quarts water). Pick out the smallest garlic clove and finely grate it into a small bowl. Grate in the zest of the lemon, then stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chile flakes. Season oil mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

Thinly slice the remaining 5 garlic cloves and the shallot. Trim the mushrooms; tear into bite-size pieces. Juice the zested lemon into a small bowl. Grate enough Parm to yield ¼ cup (save what’s left for passing at the table). Set all aside.

Add the herbs to the boiling water and cook until very softened, 2 minutes. (Cooking the herbs both mellows and deepens their flavor; they will have less fresh brightness but take on a richer, more vegetal flavor.) Use a mesh spider or tongs to remove the herbs and hold them under cold running water until cool enough to handle, about 10 seconds. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Thinly slice the herbs and stir them into the oil mixture. Taste and adjust with more salt and chile flakes, if desired. Set the herb sauce aside.

Lower heat under the boiling water to maintain a simmer—you want to get your mushrooms going before starting the pasta. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high for 1 minute, then add 3 tablespoons olive oil and half the mushrooms. Cook, tossing, until the mushrooms are coated with oil, then cook, undisturbed, until browned on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and toss, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned all over and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer mushrooms to a large plate and repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and mushrooms, then add these mushrooms to the first batch. Bring the water back to a boil.

Melt the butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat until it foams, 15 to 30 seconds. Add the sliced garlic and shallot and cook until the garlic and butter are golden brown and the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pot, along with any accumulated juices, and cook, tossing, until well combined. Lower the heat to keep warm.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, 2 to 3 minutes less than the time indicated on the package. Use a mesh spider to transfer pasta to the pot with the mushrooms, then add 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Increase the heat to medium and cook, tossing energetically, until a sauce forms that coats the pasta, 2 minutes. Add the ¼ cup grated cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and another big splash of pasta water and cook, tossing, until cheese is melted and the sauce is clinging to the noodles, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add a few spoonfuls of herb sauce to the pasta and stir to combine. Serve with remaining herb sauce and more cheese at the table.

-------------------------From the MarketMild chile flakesShallotTender herbsMaitake mushroomsWide pasta noodles

Spin ItInstead of Aleppo pepper, use a smaller quantity of regular red pepper flakes or lots of blackReplace the shallot with ¼ onionThe herbs are truly interchangeable, in any ratio, and can include basil, chives, tarragon, and/or dill Use shiitake, oyster, and/ or cremini mushrooms instead of maitakeBig tubes like rigatoni or paccheri are good too-------------------------At HomeSalt and pepperGarlicLemonOlive oilParmigianoButter

Spin ItA few dashes of sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar can replace the lemon juice and zestGrana Padano or pecorino can replace the Parm-------------------------Tall Pot AltIf you don’t have a Dutch oven, use a large heavy skillet to cook the mushrooms and combine with the shallot and garlic. Scoop out 2 cups of pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and return to the pot, and build your sauce from there. If the sauce gets tight or sticky, or the cheese clumps together, lower the heat and add more water than you think you should. Cook over low heat, stirring gently but constantly, until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.

Reprinted from 'That Sounds So Goodby Carla Lalli Music.' Copyright © 2021 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers.Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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