Confession: A Mushroom Story

True Story: I am terrible at cream sauces when there is no flour or binder involved.

This will be relevant later.

So, last night I tried my hand at this recipe: Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Toasted Almonds.

Looks tasty, right?

I have realized something about myself – if a recipe calls for, basically, throwing a sauteed chicken breast on top of (name a perfectly fine food), I would rather just omit the meat. I find boneless skinless chicken breasts to be the soulless jellyfish of the meat department, pale and insipid. Leave them off my Caesar salad, leave them off my fettucine alfredo.


I started by sauteeing the chicken and removing them to a plate. At that point an alarm bell went off – “How are they going to be flavorful and awesome if they’re sitting on this plate while the sauce parties in the pan?” (Answer: They pretty much won’t!)

Then I sauteed the mushrooms. The recipe says to add them raw at the end, but the picture appears to feature sauteed mushrooms, so I went for it. I added the wine and reduced.

I poured myself a glass, too. Wine doesn’t keep forever, you know.

I think my problem with cream sauces is that I’m impatient. I lower the heat but apparently don’t wait long enough for the sauce to chill out before adding the cream. APPARENTLY.

Long story short – my sauce broke. There was some cursing. I semi-salvaged it with some of the pasta cooking water.

I returned the chicken to the finished sauce and let it all hang out for a full 10 minutes, hoping that the flavors would penetrate the chicken.

No dice. The sauce was delicious, but the chicken seemed like an afterthought.

So this is the recipe I’m going to make next time:

Dijon Mushroom Linguine, by Windy

1 lb. Linguine
8 oz. mushrooms, your choice

3 TB olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 TB flour

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups half and half

3 TB Dijon mustard, preferably whole grain (but I’m not picky)

Salt & Pepper

Cook linguine according to package directions and drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Toast slivered almonds and set aside.

Heat 3 TB olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic, saute until mushrooms are browned and have released their juices. Add 2 TB flour, stir until incorporated (no lumps). Add wine and stir until bubbly. Reduce heat, stir in half and half and mustard, and heat until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss with linguine. Top individual servings with toasted almonds. If you’re feeling fancy, you can throw some chives on there.

Serves 4.


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