Can you premake as mushroom cream pasta sauce?

#1

I’m thinking, for timing reasons, of half-preparing a mushroom cream sauce for the fridge, later on with whole cream and herbs over heat. Viable?

The premake would be cooking down shallots and shitake mushrooms (porcini if I can get them) in butter with some seasoning, along with some dry sherry or white wine, maybe adding some broth too at this point.

When the liquid’s largely evaporated, then I’d chill it until wanting to finish by heating it up over lowish heat with garlic, and then later giving it the cream reduction stage with some thyme and maybe tarragon and what not.

We’re to be serving with home-made fettuccine.

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#2

That should work just fine. In fact, freezing that base should also work fine, if you want to double or triple the recipe for future quick “access”…

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(saregama) #3

I might add the sherry or wine in the second phase to preserve flavor and freshen up the mushrooms. You can also reheat a fully made cream sauce, though, if time is the issue.

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(erica) #4

That absolutely works. Same principle as duxelles, which is fine for freezing, since it’s a mince. In your case, assuming you are slicing the mushrooms, I would advise against freezing, because after thawing, they would tend to be rubbery.

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#5

Depending when your meal is I would make a small batch, chill and then make trial run the next day. I think you should be ok.

Given the sauce you are making, aside from the prep time, the cooking should be rather quick. Mise En Place; have everything prepared as the cook time is about 20 to 30 minutes max for the sauce base. The cream reduction can be done simultaneously.
You have to boil the water for the pasta about 15 minutes and cook the pasta for several minutes more.
I assume you will remove the fresh cooked pasta and then right into the cream sauce to finish.
Have found that pasta dishes need to be prepared and served, unless it is a baked pasta dish.

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#6

Good point. I latched onto the reduction-base-before-cream-is-added aspect and so skimmed past the mushrooms being sliced rather than minced. Though in my experience, how well cooked mushrooms survive freezing depends on how thoroughly they’re cooked. If they’re only lightly sauteed, they get more rubbery than if really thoroughly cooked. For an everyday meal, the convenience of sauteeing the mushrooms ahead of time might outweigh the (slight) change in texture…

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#7

You should be fine with your method.

I’m not sure how far in advance you’re starting this - but if it is the morning of or day before . . . you could add some of the cream (or a little bit of whole milk) to the mushrooms after they are cooked down to let them infuse the dairy a little too.

You mention maybe adding some broth - whether it is cream or the broth, I would be sure to deglaze the pan with something before cooling for later use.

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#8

Thanks for the replies! Reporting back, I did what I originally described, except for adding some garlic at each stage and adding parmigiano.

I made the base in the morning, and it took about almost an hour to slowly sweat out the shiitake mushrooms with olive-oil/butter and a touch of salt and some peeled but slightly smashed garlic cloves, then evaporated sherry, then evaporated chicken broth. Cooked the shallots separately, which I took after softening to mince with some additional pepper flakes (actually Basque Piment d’Espelette). Combined the two and stuck all that in the fridge for the coming evening, doing the cream and herbs last minute, plus also a goodly amount (1/3 cup?) microplaned parmigiano. The last step was a snap.

Worked out great! Pretty much as I supposed, but I’d never divided the timing this way before…

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