Once the rain starts I tend to get a liiiittle stir crazy. All summer long I’m spending lots and lots of time outside in the garden, and then fall rolls around, the garden gets yellowed and wilty, and I’m coerced by nature into spending more and more time indoors. But I’m a stubborn person, and I’m not suite ready for full-time indoor nesting just yet. We haven’t even had a frost yet for crying out loud! Which is why I very much appreciate the mushroom. Foraging for them deeply satisfies both my “outdoor cat” and treasure hunting tendencies. And on top of getting a beautiful walk in the woods + soaking up the lush autumn of the northwest, I get to cook and eat a LOT of mushrooms, which is how this mushroom gnocchi ended up on our table.
Jeremy and I spent an afternoon in our favorite patch of woods near the homestead, wandering around in search of mushrooms. My favorite are chanterelles, which are deeply golden and have a beautiful delicate flavor that’s almost sweet in a way. But there was nary a chanterelles to be found. Instead, we kept finding matsutake. They’re a funny mushroom, they grow under the carpet of decomposing fir needles on the forest floor (known as duff), and you can sometimes see a sliver of white peeking out under the thick layer of duff. Then when you get close, you notice lumps all around the one visible mushroom, and when you peel back the duff you’re surrounded by a dozen matusake. It’s a really satisfying experience—it’s kind of like getting a REALLY good deal on something you’ve been wanting for ages.
All in all we ended up finding about 6 pounds of matsutake, and since they sell for about $40 a pound at the market, we really made out well for an afternoon of wandering! At the end of our foraging walk trough the woods, I was slightly disappointed about the lack of chanterelles and wistfully mentioned it to Jeremy. And then wouldn’t you know, the forest was feeling extra sweet and I spotted one right off the trail a couple minutes later! It was such a treat, and I enjoyed my one chanterelle very much and put it into this mushroom gnocchi along with many matsutake.
You can use absolutely any edible variety of mushroom for this mushroom gnocchi, though, so don’t feel like you need to go stomping through the woods to make it. (Safety note: I highly recommend against foraging for mushrooms unless you absolutely know how to identify a couple edible varieties OR you go with a local guide, since the majority of wild mushrooms are toxic). This would be great with store-bought button mushrooms, or even shiitake mushrooms for an extra-savory taste! All edible mushrooms will go really well with the main ingredients in this gnocchi, like white wine, garlic, shallot, thyme, and pecorino romano. You really can’t go wrong 🙂 Enjoy + happy autumn my friends!!
And a huge thanks to Adobe Lightroom for allowing me to do a mushroom foraging expedition as a part of my passion project series with them. All images were edited in their lovely program!
Mushroom Gnocchi with Garlic and Thyme
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms very thinly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup veg stock
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or coconut cream
- ¼ cup finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 10 ounces gnocchi
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until transparent and lightly golden around edges, about 5-6 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. Add the garlic, thinly sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir to combine. Cook until mushrooms are more flexible and have released their moisture and are fragrant, about 10-15 minutes more, stirring every 2-3 minutes.
Begin preparing the gnocchi according to the package directions (use salted water to add flavor to the gnocchi). Meanwhile, you can finish the mushroom sauce. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and stir to coat, then add the wine and stir to combine, dissolving any browned bits on the bottom of the frying pan. Cook for one minute more, then add the vegetable stock and cream and stir until a thick sauce forms. Stir in the grated pecorino romano and the fresh basil leaves and remove from heat. Toss with the cooked and drained gnocchi and serve immediately.
This Red Belted Conk mushroom is inedible, but pretty. Just admire visually without ever ingesting it 🙂