|At the Globe Theatre in London, summer 2004|
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
- "Sonnet 18," William Shakespeare
|The Globe Theatre|
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare
I wanted to post one of Shakespeare's lovely sonnets in honour of the 400th anniversary of his death. But the quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream is more apt, given that it mentions two of my favourite and most versatile ingredients.
Perhaps then, this recipe, which contains both onions and garlic, should be off limits to actors - but I hope the rest of you aren't scared off. The ragout is so good, I loved it the first time I tried it even though I forgot to add the cheese. The next day I sprinkled my leftovers with Parmigiana-Reggiano before heating and it was even better. In short, all's well that ends well.
Mushroom and White Bean Ragout
(from Kitchen Riffs)
Note: you can easily cut the recipe in half if you're cooking for two
1 ounce dried mushrooms (preferably porcini)
2 cups boiling (or very hot) water
2 pounds Portobello mushrooms
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
4 garlic cloves, divided
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine (white wine is also good)
15-ounce can white beans
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
additional salt to taste
additional fresh rosemary for garnish (optional)
sprinkling of grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese for garnish (optional)
Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Add hot water and let the mushrooms soak for 30 minutes. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour mushrooms into the strainer. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer until you've squeezed out all the juices. Quickly rinse mushrooms to remove any residual sand. Chop coarsely and set aside. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and set aside.
Wipe the Portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel and cut into slices of 1/2 inch or so. Set aside.
Peel onions, and cut into dice of 1/2 inch or so. Place a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium stovetop heat. When it's hot, add olive oil, then add diced onions. Season with salt, lower the heat and sauté until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
Peel the garlic and slice thinly or mince finely. Divide into two roughly equal piles and set aside.
Once the onions are ready, add half the garlic. Add thyme and rosemary, and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the Portobello mushrooms. Add additional salt to taste, plus the butter. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the reconstituted mushrooms, along with the wine. Cook until the liquid evaporates and a glaze forms on the mushrooms. Stir occasionally so the mushrooms don't stick and burn.
Open the beans, rinse through a colander, and let drain.
Add the reserved soaking liquid, the beans, tomatoes and the rest of the garlic to the mixture. Bring to a bare simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Serve over cooked barley, polenta or rice. Garnish with rosemary and/or Parmigiana-Reggiano, if desired.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember."
- Hamlet, William Shakespeare