This is one of the richest pasta dishes that we make at Mangia Nashville. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms combined with the cognac, the cream and the cheeses are almost sinful. I have had customers ask for a straw so they could drink the leftover sauce. Who am I to tell them no?
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic smashed
2 small shallots chopped
1 cups cognac or brandy
1 cup warm water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 pound penne pasta
Put the mushrooms, cognac and warm water into a bowl and let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid and coarsely chop.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 2 minutes till shallots are translucent and garlic is slightly browned. Add mushrooms and sauté another minute. Add water and cognac that mushrooms were soaking in. (Be careful not to dump any grit that might be at the bottom of the bowl from the mushrooms)
Let this reduce till most of liquid is reduced. Add heavy cream to pan and gently simmer till reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in cheese. Toss with pasta making sure that sauce covers. I like to put a teaspoon of butter in at this point. It’s already rich why not drive right off the cliff. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with fresh chives and enjoy!