November is here. We’ve had a rough start to the month as the Chestnut Cottage on B Street lost our Box Elder Tree. We are renting, so we didn’t have much say in the matter, but our landlord (being amazing) did all they could to save the tree and in their defense, one of its giant trunks came crashing into the neighbors yard during a windstorm a few months ago. Six arborists later, the conclusion was that this lovely tree had to come down for the safety of all. To be honest I was a mess, sobbing like a small child who has lost their first pet goldfish. Of course I went out and purchased a nice bottle of pink champagne to toast the tree. My husband (also being ever amazing) left the lights wrapped around it for that final night, waking up at 4 am, donning a headlamp to take them off in the foggy-fall Oregon morning before they came to take her down.
As I have been mourning the tree, I realize how thankful I am for the gifts it gave us; the shade it provided, the cocoon of safety her spreading branches gave our little house, her branches giving support for the patio lights that strung across our yard. As I was giving thanks to the tree for its gifts, I started noticing the other gifts that had come my way. My parents, as badass and rad as they come, came up for our annual Halloween Soirée. My mom handed me a bunch of fresh sage as beautiful and fragrant as any floral bouquet. My father gave me a bottle of perhaps the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever had in my possession. My sweet in-laws had gifted us some stellar onions, fresh from the black earth of Idaho. Then there are the neighbors, this band of supreme human beings, who constantly make our lives ever so much better. Living in Oregon, I have noticed there are two types of friends, there are friends, and then there are friends who give you mushrooms; these neighbors are the latter. Yesterday they stopped by with a box full of magic, a lion’s mane mushroom so full and beautiful it looked like a creature from the sea. As I sat on the porch gazing sadly at the stump left from our beloved tree, a recipe came to me; celebrating the gifts that I had been given and turning my attitude of loss to one of thankfulness, seemingly perfect for the season.
I created this recipe full of gifts, Creamed Lion’s Mane Mushroom on Conchiglie. As these mushrooms are rare, you can substitute with your favorite fungi, be it chanterelles, portabellas, or even the humble button mushroom. Whenever making pasta, choose your noodle based on sauce; Conchiglie is perfect for this thick mushroom sauce as the little shells scoop up the puree and hold it tight delivering sheer joy to your lips.
You will need
1-pound mushrooms – rough chopped
1 yellow onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – minced
1-cup white wine – only cook with wine you would drink so make it good
1-cup cream, plus more for thinning
16-ounces of your favorite pasta – I used Conchiglie
¼-cup chopped sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
Add onions and cook until light brown
Toss in garlic and sage and stir until fragrant – about one minute
Add more butter to the mushrooms if needed, turning down the heat to medium
Allow the mushrooms to brown for 2 minutes and flip
Begin to boil water for your pasta
Add the wine to the sauté pan and bring to a boil until the wine is absorbed into the mushrooms
Turn down the heat to medium, adding the cream
Add pasta to boiling salted water
Once the cream has begun to thicken, remove ½ of the mixture to your blender
Blend and add back to the remaining half of your sauce
Strain your pasta and toss with Parmesan and fresh sage and serve
I wish that I could give you something….
but I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry….”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy.
“just a quiet place to sit and rest.
I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening
herself up as much as she could,
“well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting
Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy”
– Shel Silverstien
In gratitude and thanks for this giving tree,