Growing up, a mushroom mouth was not the mouth of a mushroom lover…..
‘Mushroom mouth’ was the English translation of an Italian phrase , ‘mussi di funghi’…. that meant , literally – mushroom mouth. Except, of course, this isn’t how I can find the phrase on the Internet….mouth tranlates to – apertura, or bocca, but I can’t find a mussi...but it’s still a thing….even if it’s a dialect thing
Like pursed lips….
and now some mushrooms….
and they had already-sliced fresh mushroom on the markdown bin at the store….so I snapped them up. I used to make a really easy, really tasty mushroom sauce for pasta, so easy that if I couldn’t remember which cookbook it was in, I could probably make something close anyhow….
My son is not a fan of the mushroom, so most of the last 20 years I haven’t used mushrooms as a main ingredient (although they have played supporting roles in a few things)….
I looked for the cook book with the terrific mushroom sauce recipe and found the recipe, but not exactly in the book I thought it would be in .It wasn’t quite as I remembered it. The page was too small and there weren’t as many smudges as I remembered, and the type face was off…..but it was here:
Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce
Salsa di funghi per spaghetti
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
Fresh ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
- Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the onions are very, meltingly, soft, stirring occasionally.
- In another pan, one large enough for the full sauce, melt the other 3 tablespoons butter. Cook the mushrooms until tender. Season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Keep hot.
- Meanwhile, start cooking 1 pound spaghetti.
- Five minutes before serving….add the cream to the mushrooms and onions. Heat, but do not let boil or it will curdle.
- Drain the cooked spaghetti, add the sauce, mix and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Easy, rich, delicious.
Adapted from Nika Hazelton’s From Nika Hazelton’s Kitchen.Viking, 1985. p.237. and Nika Hazelton The Best of Italian Cooking. Weathervane Books, 1989. p.163-4.
There was also a time during the ’70’s that I had confused Nika Hazelton with Marcella Hazen, just based on their names and that they were both producing Italian cook books. There was no Internet or social media, so all I had was names on a book cover and my poor memory to depend on.
Looks like I’ll be spending a little more time with Nika….