Fratelli Perata Winery

Mushrooms au Gratin

Never met a mushroom we didn't like. This is a great recipe if you have leftover Bechamel Sauce, so plan on making extra for this. Deep mushroom flavors work with any Bordeaux, and the salt from the cheese smooths a young red wine. A slice of dried porcini, soaked, cleaned and chopped, may be added to this recipe for added depth, as an interesting combination of mushrooms may also be used instead of all of the same kind. Depends on what's available, what looks good. Just slight, easy variations.

2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Marsala, dry
2 cups heavy cream, reserving 2 TB
2 cups Bechamel
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Make Bechamel

Make a bouquet garni of 2 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme and 1 bay leaf
4 TB butter
3 TB flour
2 cups milk, hot not scalded
1/2 tsp salt, don't leave out and pepper
small pinch ground nutmeg

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then add flour stirring constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add milk, then salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add bouquet garni and increase heat to briefly bring to a boil. Then lower heat and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve. Makes 2 cups.

Heat butter in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion begins to brown. Add mushrooms, cover, cook about 8 - 10 minutes, until cook through.

Remove mushrooms from pan, keeping juices. Add Marsala to the juices in the skillet, stir and reduce liquid to about 1/4 cup over medium heat. Stir in the heavy cream and continue cooking until very thick. Then remove from heat, stir in the 2 T cream to smooth the sauce, add Bechamel. Add salt and pepper, remembering the cheese will contribute a fair amount of saltiness.

Fold the mushrooms in the sauce, then place in a shallow baking dish (remember the old au gratin dishes?). Top with the Parmigiano. Broil over high heat quickly until the cheese is golden brown. Serve hot. Crusty French bread makes a good side. So does a glass of Merlot.