This recipe came about by trial and error to recreate the Ravioli di Zio Paperone dish at an Italian restaurant named Terroni. For weeks I’ve been obsessed with this dish which contains homemade ravioli stuffed with duck confit, fig, roasted butternut squash, sautéed with oyster, button mushrooms and parmigiano. During the trials, I opted to leave out the duck confit raviolis to concentrate on the mushrooms and sauce, which was my favourite part. The result of my attempt was nowhere near the original (of course) but still delicious, hence the birth of the Braised Mushroom Parmigiano recipe.
Braised Mushroom Parmigiano—a fancy way of saying sautéed mushrooms with cheese and absorbed stock—is an easy side dish to cook for a weeknight. Every bite of mushroom gushes with flavour from the absorbed stock and parmigiano cheese. The squirt of lemon juice rounds it off, creating a complimentary balance of umami flavour with a hint of acidity.
While doing research for this recipe, I learned that white button mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobellos are all the same mushroom type. The only difference is that they are at different stages of growth and because of that, they will look and taste slightly different. The order of youngest to most mature goes like this: white, cremini, portobello.
You might be interested to know that mushrooms are not classified as fruit, vegetable, or plant. Instead they are included in the fungus family and are a great addition to a healthy diet as they are highly nutritious with loads of vitamins/minerals. Mushrooms have a meaty texture and a savoury taste, which is known as ‘umami’. Parmigiano-reggiano cheese also has this umami flavour.
When buying mushrooms, avoid the pre-cut and pre-packaged ‘Chef’s Blend Mushrooms’ which can be more expensive and not as fresh. Select your own mushrooms from the bulk mushroom baskets and prep them at home— this will give the choice of picking the freshest mushrooms and help you retain the bills in your wallet. Choose the mushrooms that are firm, bruise free and look matte/dry on the outside.
Mushrooms cook down quite a bit so don’t be overwhelmed if it looks like a lot when you toss them into the pan. To clean the mushrooms, simply trim off the dirty bases and wipe them thoroughly with a damp paper towel.
If you are vegetarian or cooking for a vegetarian, mushroom stock can replace the chicken stock and the parmigiano-regianno cheese can be taken out entirely (It will still taste pretty good although not as cheesy). Alternatively, parmigiano can be substituted using a vegetarian version.
Those who are aware of my cooking style know that I prefer to have a recipe and precise measurements while cooking—I feel lost without them. However, with Braised Mushroom Parmigiano, I go by taste, adding a hint of this and that when needed. I also encourage you to stray from the recipe to your liking—you can use any type of mushroom blend you want, so long as the total weight of the mushrooms add up. Also, be liberal with the cheese! One can never have too much cheese!
As always, I’d love to see your results using the hashtag #francesmenu on instagram, twitter and Facebook! Happy cooking!
Braised Mushroom Parmigiano Recipe
YIELD: 2-3 side dish portions
ACTIVE TIME: 15-20 mins
TOTAL TIME (active + inactive time): 25 mins
CREDITS: Frances Lam
- 1.5 tbsp Salted/Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 90 g Oyster mushrooms (torn into large chunks)
- 90 g Shiitake mushrooms (thickly sliced)
- 90 g Cremini mushrooms (thickly sliced)
- 0.5 cup Chicken Stock (OR Mushroom Stock for a vegetarian option)
- 4-5 tbsp. parmigiano cheese (grated)
- 2 squeezes of fresh lemon juice (approx. 0.5 tspn)
- 0.25 tspn salt (or to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- Heat the butter in a non-stick pan on high heat until melted. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, followed by adding the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for 2 – 3 minutes and add the chicken broth to the pan. Adjust the heat to maintain a low boil until all the chicken broth is absorbed/reduced and the mushrooms are slightly damp, stirring occasionally. Mix in the lemon juice, season with salt/pepper to your liking and serve.
- To clean the mushrooms, simply trim off the dirty bases and wipe them thoroughly with a damp paper towel. It’s best not to soak the mushrooms in water, they will absorb all the liquid, only to release it while cooking, therefore preventing you from browning them nicely.
- If you are vegetarian or cooking for a vegetarian, mushroom stock can replace the chicken stock and the parmigiana regianno cheese can be taken out completely (It will still taste pretty good although not as cheesy). Alternatively, parmigiano can be substituted using a vegetarian version.
Behind the Scenes:
Here’s a little bonus for those of you who have expressed interest in my photography setup. I was recently gifted a Softbox from a secret santa exchange and I’ve been taking advantage of it (Thanks Mike!). I often run out of time to do all my photography during the daytime, so my speedlights and lighting panel go a long way to helping me recreate the lighting when the sun sets.