Pantry Essential: Dried Mushrooms

January 9, 2012

On the short list of pantry items in our kitchens are dried mushrooms. We keep them on hand because they are a luxuriously affordable and delicious extra boost for many kinds of weekday and elegant meals. The concentrated, intense, and meaty (umami) flavor of wild mushrooms works well in soups, sautés and sauces. Some easy ways to use dried mushrooms are in rice pilaf dishes, spooned over risotto, in pan sauces for meats, added to stir-fries, beans or omelets, with flavored butters, and in tomato or cream-based pasta sauces – like this one we’re making tonight for supper.

Recipe: Pasta with Dried Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

Note: Dried mushrooms keep well if they are kept sealed in an airtight container. Although there are no set rules to using the various types of wild mushrooms, consider using mushrooms from one region to cook that type of cuisine. For example: use porcini or portobello with Italian sauces, shiitake with Asian dishes, and chanterelles in French foods.

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