Getting Wild With Mushrooms

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It's the fall, which means one thing to food lovers: mushroom season. In our weekly food segment, we get out of the kitchen and into the forest with Kathy Gunst, food writer and author of "Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast," and Rob Evans, chef at Hugo's restaurant in Portland, Me., and winner of the 2009 James Beard Award. They tell us about their experience foraging for wild mushrooms in the wilds of Maine and how to use those 'flowers of fall' – or their supermarket equivalents – in the kitchen. (Click through for recipes, including Chef Evans' Matsutake Mushroom Risotto.)

Chef Rob Evans' Matsutake Mushroom Risotti with Charred Rosemary (Serves 4)

  • 3 peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup dried Matsutake mushrooms
  • 8 oz cup loose grated pecorino
  • 2 cups diced Matsutake mushroom
  • 3 Tbs cold butter
  • 1 Tbs chopped rosemary (grill full sprig on high heat before picking & chopping)

Drying Mushrooms for Stock

  1. Slice mushrooms as thin as possible.
  2. Place on sheet pan in 170 degree oven and dehydrate until dry and crispy.
  3. Mushrooms can be stored indefinitely in a zip lock bag once completely cooled. (5 pounds of fresh mushrooms will make pound of dried).

Mushroom Stock

  1. Add 5 cups of water and dried mushrooms to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Let simmer on low for 1 hour.
  3. Remove from heat & strain.


  1. On a mandolin, cut potatos into small julienne strips, then dice small, or grate potato on box grater using large holes, then run knife through potato several times – do not put cut potato in water.
  2. Work quickly so they don't oxidize too much (a little is okay).
  3. Halfway through the dicing, heat a 2 qt sauce pan to medium high; add the onions, diced Matsutake, then garlic, and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add small diced potato to onion and garlic mixture, stir for 2 minutes, add wine and cook until dry.
  5. Add 1 cup hot mushroom stock.
  6. Continue to add stock a little at a time until potato is tender and risotti is not soupy (this recipe will take less liquid that a rice based risotto).

Remove risotti from heat, add cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, rosemary and salt & pepper to taste.


  • Shiitake mushrooms can be used in place of Matsutake mushrooms.
  • Traditional risotto can be made by substituting Arborio or Carnaroli rice in place of potato. This recipe will need more stock if traditional risotto is made.

Kathy Gunst's Sauteed Matsutake "Pasta" with Parmesan Cheese (Serves 2 to 4)

If you find small fresh matsutake they taste like fresh pasta. Here we sauté them, thinly sliced, with olive oil, garlic and a dusting of Parmesan.

  • 8 medium-small matsutake or porcini, or fresh wild mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt or debris, then thinly slice them.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil over high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the mushrooms, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and beginning to soften.
  5. Remove from the skillet and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  6. Serve hot.

Kathy Gunst's Roasted Wild Mushroom Soup (serves 4)

Use portabellos or shiitakes, cepes, or any wild mushrooms you can find for this earthy cream soup.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound fresh portabello mushrooms, trimmed and cut intro chunks (see note above)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or red wine
  • 5 cups chicken, vegetable or beef stock
  • Cream, crème fraîche or yogurt, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom of a medium to large roasting pan or ovenproof skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and remaining oil and stir well.
  4. Roast on the middle shelf for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour the sherry into the pan, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the stock. Let cool a minute or two.
  7. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and, working in batches, puree the mushroom mixture and all the juices, blending until smooth.
  8. Transfer to a medium-large pot and season to taste. Reheat and add a touch of cream, crème fraîche or plain yogurt if desired.
  9. The soup really doesn't need much! Serve hot with crusty bread.