Shiitake & Leek Pappardelle
1 8.8oz box Pappardelle
2 Large Shiitake Mushroom Sliced (1/2 cup to 1 cup) (key to buy fresh organic as it will be tender & meaty)
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, sliced
4 Young Leeks or 2 Regular size, washed & sliced
4 Slices Bacon (can omit & use 2 Tblsp Olive Oil & 1 Tblsp Butter)
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/8 Tsp Hot Pepper Flakes
Salt to taste (start out with 1/8 Tsp, you can always add more if necessary)
Brush off your Shiitake Mushroom, trim off the end of the stem, leaving as much of the stem as possible. Slice the stem finely & place to the side. Slice the Shiitake in half, then slice into bite size pieces.
Wash leeks very well, especially if using the larger ones. Best to slice them first, then soak them, as the dirt will loosen & wash free in the water. If using the baby leeks, chop the entire leek. If using the larger leeks, slice just into the beginning of the green. Chop your parsley, slice the garlic & set all ingredients aside.
In large 5 Qt pot, bring water to a boil, adding salt just before dropping your pasta. In a skillet, cook bacon till crisp, remove & let cool, reserve bacon drippings in pan. When cool, chop bacon & set aside. In same skillet you cooked bacon, add Mushrooms, stem & all, Leeks, Garlic, Parsley, Hot Pepper Flakes & salt. Saute these ingredients about 10 minutes, till leeks are tender. Don't overcook as the mushrooms make get rubbery. At this point you can add 1/4 cup of water to the pan & let simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & cover.
Drop Pasta into boiling water. While Pasta cooks, about 6-7 minutes (al dente), chop Bacon & add to the Mushrooms & Leeks. Have some grated Parmigiano Cheese ready to serve.
Drain Pasta, reserving some of the Pasta water. Add Pasta into pan with the Mushrooms & Leeks, tossing well to coat. As the Pasta absorbs the Mushroom liquid, you can add some of the Pasta water (4-6 Tbsp. depending on dryness). Toss a few more times, then serve. Add Parmigiano to taste.