This past week Marukai had an assortment of exotic Hamakua Mushrooms on sale. 4 oz. trays of Alii™, Shimeji, Gray Oyster and Kea Hon Shimjeji™ were $1.89 each, and the 8 oz. “Fungal Jungle” variety tray for $4.47.
I love mushrooms. So I thought about a few recipes that I might use to incorporate these exotic beauties that would really showcase their flavor. At first I was going to simply saute them in garlic butter and wine and serve them with a grilled rib eye steak. Then I thought about making a swiss ‘n ‘shroom burger.
But the star of those two dishes is the beef, and I wanted the focus to be on the mushrooms. So I decided to go with a this most delicious pasta recipe I got from my girlfriend who used to work for Wolfgang Puck a while ago. The perfect choice for this.
First let’s take a closer look at each mushroom…
Here’s a look at the cross-section…
Left to right: Alii™ Oyster, Kea Hon Shimeji™ & Shimeji
So let’s get cookin’!
Hamakua Mushroom & Asparagus Penne Pasta
• 1 eight oz. tray Hamakua Mushrooms (any variety, but not Shiitake), sliced into cross section strips
• 1 bunch fresh Asparagus, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces cut on the bias (at angle)
• 1/2 of a white or Maui onion, sliced semi-thin
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped fine (substitute dry if fresh not available; of course fresh is better)
• 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped fine (same as above)
• Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 2 tbsp. olive oil (or EVOO)
• Parmesiano Reggiano, freshly grated (the grated packaged type works fine, but none of that stuff in that green container!)
• 1 package dry penne pasta
Begin by cooking the penne pasta in rapid boiling water according to package directions. When it’s finished, remove from heat, drain water and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, put the asparagus, mushrooms, onions, garlic, thyme and oregano in a large pan or wok with a little olive oil on medium high heat and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Here you can see the ingredients before they’re cooked through
Now add the chicken stock and dab of butter and cook until stock is reduced to half. When the asparagus and mushrooms are el dente, add the cooked penne and gently combine everything together. Sprinkle a generous amount of the grated Parmesian cheese on top and incorporate it in until it’s melted evenly throughout the dish.
Finish by adding salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. If desired, add more grated Parmesian on your plated dish.
This recipe is absolutely fantastic. You gotta’ try it. The asparagus truly compliments the meaty flavor and texture of the mushrooms, and the Penne acts as a vehicle that brings it all together. You could serve this as a side dish along with a pork chop, steak or fish, or enjoy it just the way it is as a healthy one dish meal. Delicioso!
I’d say the Alii™ Oyster was my favorite of the three here, mainly because of the shear size, which was, well, just “meatier”. The skinnier Shimeji varieties did offer an interesting texture to the pasta dish because of their shape. Some were so skinny that I left them whole instead of slicing them in half length-wise. All of them had a slight chew to them which was nice. And all had a similar flavor profile that had a bit more character than a white, but not too bold or “woody” like a Shiitake.
Hamakua mushrooms are also available at our local Costco and select Supermarkets. If you’re a mushroom fan, pick these up. They’re excellent!
Hamakua Mushrooms “Fungal Jungle” variety tray: Alii™, Shimeji and Kea Hon Shimeji, $4.47 sale price.