Is it just me…or do fungi look like some of the weirdest, ugliest, and yet somehow fascinatingly beautiful organisms? My earliest memories of fungi included slurping + chewing on shiitake mushrooms in this Chinese chicken soup my grandma made for me + simultaneously being told to never touch the white shrooms on my neighbors lawn because those were “poisonous.” (I would see how close I could get to these yard shrooms without actually touching them as a kid)
Fastforward now – I have a huge love and respect for edible shrooms (not so much the edible/chocolate ones here) but more-so shiitake, cremini, enoki, king oyster, and especially a new favorite: maitake. I love the chewiness + meatiness of these and how soaking a handful of dehydrated shiitake can make them just as delicious to top off soups and noodles with. But my favorite? Cooking these mushrooms till they’re crisp really intensifies their flavors and textures.
What I love about making this dish is how versatile it can be; you can switch up a variety of mushrooms to include more/less maitake, add king oysters, or use just re-hydrated shiitake-replace the dried soba noodles with whatever dried noodles you have.
The “must” ingredient with no substitute? heavy cream. Have fun with toppings and save some crispy mushrooms to sprinkle over the soba. There’s just something really heavenly about swirling heavy cream into a pot of pasta.
Creamy Shiitake Soba
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. mixed mushrooms (Shiitake, maitake, enoki, king oyster)
- 1 C heavy cream
- 1 lb soba
- 2 cloves garlic
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated
- fresh scallions or dried scallots (for garnish)
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium high. Cook about 1/2 or 1/3 of the mushrooms so that the mushrooms are on a single layer, undisturbed, until the edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 min on each side.Place aside onto a plate and season with salt. Repeat with batches until mushroom are cooked.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add chopped cloves of garlic. Return all of the mushrooms to the pot.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water.
Transfer the soba noodles into the pot with mushrooms and add heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium to bring to simmer. Cook stirring, until liquid is slightly thickened. about 3 min.
Remove the pot from the heat. Add lemon zest and juice, butter, freshly grated Parmesan and lots of pepper and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt, scallions, and other mushrooms crisps if desired.