Foraged Greens Pasta with Wild Mushroom Sauce

| 2/17/2015 9:11:00 AM

Tags: edible wild plants, mushrooms, recipe, Leda Meredith, New York,

henbit pasta 

I originally invented this recipe because I was looking for a way to make henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) not only edible but actually taste good (read my post about foraging for henbit here). It is a cold-hardy plant that I wrote about a few weeks ago because it's a reliable winter forage even in areas that are well below freezing at this time of year.

The trouble with henbit is that its flavor includes musty overtones. Someone commented on my blog that it has a "mushroomy taste." Bingo! Pairing henbit with wild mushrooms turns that quality into a pro rather than a con.

If henbit doesn't grow near you, chickweed is another cold-hardy wild green that works well in this recipe. Or, in warmer months, try nettles or lamb's quarters. Other wild leafy greens would work as well. Hen of the woods (maitake) is my mushroom of choice for this dish, but you can substitute whichever edible mushrooms you have on hand, including cultivated varieties.

Wild Greens Pasta with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

• 1/2 pound henbit leaves
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or peccorino romano cheese, divided
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
• 3/4 cup semolina flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms or reconstituted from dried (save the soaking liquid)
• 1 cup mushroom stock (or soaking liquid from dried mushrooms) OR vegetable OR chicken stock
• 1/2 cup light cream
• 1/4 teaspoon dried or 3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• freshly ground black pepper
• salt to taste

For the Noodles:

1. Cook the henbit leaves in very little water for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately run cold water over them. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2. Pulse the cooked henbit and the peeled garlic in a food processor (or finely mince with a knife).

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