I felt Christmasy today so I donned my red plaid dress, pulled on my even brighter red Dale of Norway sweater…
a pair of warm tights… and, of course, my gum boots (I know… but I love them). It’s my favorite sweater… warm, cozy, festive… I’ve been told it looks like a Christmas sweater (not sure that’s a compliment?), and today my music teacher, Tim, thought I looked very “Nordic”.
In addition to cello, I attend a weekly lesson in music theory, where my brain is stretched about this much ← → and Tim’s patience is stretched…
about this much ← → .
Elisa was busy painting in the next room and piped up that it reminded her of the Jan Brett series of children’s books.
Now, those were compliments! If there’s one thing I’ve kept from all my years of teaching (besides wonderful memories of children I have met and loved along the way) it’s a collection of my favorite children’s picture books. I plan to read them to my grandchildren one day… (which, of course, will be a very, very… very long time from now).
Jan Brett’s books abound with stunning nordic illustrations and delightful borders.. of children, trolls and forest animals.. think hedgehogs, bears, and reindeer. A few of my favorites are The Mitten, The Hat and Treva with her Christmas Trolls. I hear they’re difficult to find, but they do abound on Amazon (20 year editions… ouch), so please check them out.
I’m not sure what Nordic people prefer to dine on, deep in these magical forests, after a day of cross-country skiing amongst the reindeer and trolls… but I can’t help thinking it would be a dish something like this one. And, I must confess, ever since last week when Tim described his mushroom and port dish… I’ve had a hankering for mushrooms…
I tried to follow Donna Hay‘s recipe and then I tried to follow Hugh Carpenter’s… I really did try, honest! But then those mischievous little trolls must have snuck into my kitchen and this wintery pasta dish was the result…
Think thick strips of whole wheat noodles (they hold up better when handling), woven around roasted broccoli florets, tons of caramelized mushrooms, roasted garlic… cinnamon… truffle oil…and a cream sauce laced with sherry (oh, and get the good kind, it’s always great to have a sip whilst cooking… hmmm maybe that’s how those trolls got past me!)
Treva’s Forest Mushroom Pasta
- 6 oz (170g) broccolini florets
- 6 oz (170g) portabella mushrooms
- 7 oz (200g) crimini mushrooms
- 3.5 oz (100g) oyster mushrooms
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- olive oil
- 1/4 onion, sliced in thin strips
- 100 gm pine nuts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500 ml heavy cream (whipping)
- 1/4 sherry (a good one!)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 hot red chile pepper, seeded and diced
- (don’t rub your eyes while doing this!)
- zest of one orange
- juice of half an orange
- 1” fresh ginger, peeled and diced
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (sprinkle)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (sprinkle)
- fleur de sel (sea salt) with herbs d’provence, to taste
- (or any salt if you don’t have)
- cracked black pepper, to taste
- white truffle oil, to taste
- 1/2 box whole wheat lasagna noodles (8-10 strips)
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Rinse and dry broccoli florets. Wipe mushrooms clean and chop into large pieces. Separate and peel garlic. Toss all into an 8 x 12” baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15-25 minutes until vegetables have softened and browned.
- Fill a large pot with water and add a pinch of salt. Put on high and bring to a boil. Submerge lasagna strips, intact (don’t break) and stir occasionally so that they don’t stick together. Cook until pasta is soft but not soggy, about 12 minutes. Rinse quickly and allow to cool for a minute or two until you can handle them. Slice vertically in half to make long, wide noodle strips. Return to empty cooking pot and put a lid on to keep warm. A bit of olive oil can be mixed in if necessary to keep the noodles from sticking if they sit too long.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium. Add onion strips and pine nuts. Cook, stirring until onion has softened and pine nuts have browned.
- **Watch carefully, both can burn quite quickly if temperature is too high.
- Slowly pour in cream, then add sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile pepper, orange zest and juice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir to blend and heat gently over medium heat. Avoid boiling this mixture.
- Remove vegetables from the oven. Separate the garlic and dice/mash it. Add all of the vegetables and garlic to the cream sauce.
- To serve, place a few noodles on a dish and spoon mushroom mixture over top. Alternatively, have a large platter, lay the noodles in and pour the entire mixture over.
- Drizzle truffle oil sparingly to taste.