Pappardelle with Wild Mushroom Ragoût

This hearty dish, with earthy wild mushrooms and wide ribbons of pasta, is the perfect comfort food to enjoy on a blustery winter day, and it also makes a satisfying vegetarian entrée. Serves 4.


6 shallots, halved (skin on)
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, separated from the clump and hand-torn into equal pieces, roughly the size of a quarter
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth, preferably homemade or low sodium
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound dried or fresh pappardelle pasta

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. In a bowl, toss the shallots with 1 tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle with salt and spread on a baking sheet skin side up.  Roast the shallots in the oven until they are soft and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are brown around the edges.  Add 1/2 cup of the stock or broth, garlic and thyme.  Stir with a wooden spoon to release the caramelized bits that are stuck to the skillet and cook until the liquid has evaporated.  Add the remaining stock or broth and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. When the shallots are cool enough to handle, peel, chop roughly and add to the skillet.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes for dry pasta, 2-3 minutes for fresh.  Drain, toss the pasta with the mushroom mixture and serve immediately.

Menu suggestion: Artisanal cheese, crusty bread and a salad of bitter winter greens, such as frisée, endive or radicchio, tossed in a simple blend of fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil and salt, would nicely complement this rich dish.

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