Wild Mushroom Pasta

I'm a big fan of Good Eats and Alton Brown. I've learned a lot from him. So when he suggested that dried exotic mushrooms were an umani flavor bomb I took to amazon to procure some. 

When you only cook with and eat plants, sources of deep and real flavor are important. 

His advice was spot on. I got a dried exotic mushroom mix and used it in my pressure cooker to create a sauce/broth for pasta and even though I forgot to add olive oil, it still had tons of flavor. 
After the pressure cook was finished I added the oil I forgot and cooked it off for a  few minutes. I then stirred it into my precooked pasta. Let it rest 5 minutes to tighten up. It was a perfect sauce to enrobe my pasta. . 

Dried exotic mushrooms are not cheap. But if you don't eat/cook with animal products, they feel like a bargain. There's so much flavor to be had. It's worth it and then some. 

1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

2 ounces dried fancy mushroom mix, big pieces broken or diced
1 pint …

Pearl Barley Mushroom and Artichoke Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that chefs like to make you think is really hard to make. It must be since it tastes so good.

It really isn't difficult at all, but it does have a ton of flavor to offer. Making it vegan is a snap.

1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 jar/can marinated artichoke hearts
3 cloves sliced garlic
1/2 cup poblano pepper, sliced
1/4 cup minced jalapeno/serrano/habernero mix
1/4 cup scallion

1/3 cup white wine
3 tbls olive oil
water, as needed

2 tsps thyme
2 tsps basil
3 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper

Saute mushrooms in olive oil until darkened and tender. Add artichokes - including their brine, wine, peppers, scallions, garlic, spices and barley. Stir often and simmer over medium high heat. Add water in 1/2 cup increments as needed to keep cooking the barley until it is tender.