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Mushroom Stroganoff

A comforting dish for those times when things are colder than they should be.

For this version: 10 – 16 oz mushrooms (a mix of wild ones, or some crimini, or basic white ones) halved or quartered or thinly sliced; 1 large or 2 small onions (or just half a large one, if you’d like less), chopped; 1 Tbs flour; about a Tbs tomato paste; some sherry (maybe 1/2 cup or so) and water; smoked paprika to taste; about 1/2 cup sour cream (I only had a scant half cup of an 8 oz container left, so I added in some plain yogurt too); about 8 oz egg noodles or other pasta that picks up sauce well – in this case I used ridged elbow pasta (half a box).

In a large pan, melt about 1 Tbs butter in an equal amount of olive oil (or use just one or the other) over medium heat; add chopped onions and let them brown. Sauté for at least 5 minutes, until onions darken a bit and start to slightly caramelize. Add in the mushrooms and some salt. If the pan seems too dry, add a bit more butter. Let the mushrooms sauté, stirring occasionally, until they release some of their liquid and become browned and a bit shriveled. Add smoked paprika to taste, turning the onions and mushrooms and nice shade of reddish-brown (burnt umber?).

While the onions and mushrooms cook, bring pot with pasta water to boil.

Add the flour to your onion-mushroom mix and stir to incorporate. Let cook for about 30 – 45 seconds, then add tomato paste; stir again to mix it all together. By now your pasta should be boiling in the salted pasta water.

Add the sherry to the onion-mushroom mix (with tomato paste), which should have thickened a bit by now. Stir and possibly add a bit more sherry (I ran out). If the sherry is incorporated too quickly and the mixture seems to thicken too fast, add some water. Maybe even a 1/4 cup of the pasta water (don’t let the pasta go beyond al dente). Stir the mixture again, to get an even thickness and creaminess. Turn down the heat on the pan, and take care of your pasta (check for doneness and then drain if ready).

Add the pasta into the pan (you used a large one, right?) and stir gently to incorporate. Turn off the heat under the pan. Add the sour cream (and yogurt, if using) and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a small salad of mixed greens.

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