Shiitake Mushroom and Leek Cream Sauce
Mushroom cream sauce is a wonderfully versatile addition to noodle or meat dishes. The recipe itself is quite flexible- whatever veggies and herbs you have on-hand to work with are fair game, and you can adjust the thickness of your sauce to your liking by simply reducing it in the pan or thinning it out with a little broth. There are no hard and fast rules here, so have fun!
The ingredients here are quite flexible, for example I used 1 leek, but slivered onion or shallot would also work nicely. Shiitake mushrooms pair well with lots of herbs so use your imagination. Beyond that, a bit of cream, a couple of cloves of garlic, a generous pat of butter and a pinch of salt will treat you right. Winging it for this dinner, a fresh garden tomato was perfect little stir-in at the end.
First, I washed and chopped the leek. After chopping the roots off, I save the dark green parts for veggie broth along with the shiitake mushroom stems. Leeks have a tendency to hide dirt, so I chop the leek first and then run it through a bowl of water before draining.
A medium heat and a pat of melted butter gets things started. Next, in goes garlic for a quick stir, then leeks. A splash of white wine or broth can be added here, keeping things stirring in the pan.
After a few minutes, in go the sliced shiitake mushroom caps.
When the mushrooms start to release their water, I added in some cream and and began to reduce it a bit. At this point, you can thin and further flavor the sauce with a splash of broth (such as veggie, chicken, beef). Do this just before adding the rest of the cream and reduce the sauce to preferred thickness.
After a low bubble and things starting to reduce, I was ready to add my tender herbs.
As I was working with such a young and tender herb, I decided to wait until the sauce was reduced and just about ready before I added my herbs. (Were I working with heartier herbs, I would have added them with the mushrooms).
Voila! This sauce was ready for pasta!
In one of the dishes I added diced tomatoes as well. I like the fresh taste of the herbs and the tomato so I added them at the end just to heat.
The next night, I added a slow cooked cube steak to a bed of egg noodles before drizzling it with the remaining sauce.
I hope you enjoy whatever version of this simple cream sauce you choose!
- 1 leek, washed and chopped, light green and white parts (slivered onion or shallot also would work)
- 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms (stems removed and saved to make a veggie broth)
- 3 tablespoons micro basil (or herb of your choice to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 generous pat of Butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tomato, diced
- If using pasta, prepare it according to package directions while making your cream sauce.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds-1 minute or until fragrant. Add leeks and continue to stir for a few minutes, (a small splash of white wine can be added as desired).
- Add shiitakes to the skillet and continue to gently stir. When the mushrooms start to release their water, add in your cream and reduce until desired thickness is achieved, adding in your chopped tomato just at the end to warm it through. Season to taste and serve over pasta.