Gemelli with Hon Shimeji Mushrooms, Purple Basil, Gremolata and Uni Butter

Chefs Justin Flit and Brian Nasajon

Serves 8

Ingredients
4 cups gemelli or other fresh pasta corta (short pasta)
2 cups hon shimeji mushrooms
½ cup gremolata (see recipe below)
1½ cup shrimp or fish stock
2 Tbsp. uni butter
2 Tbsp. purple basil, sliced
1 cup pickled shallots (see recipe below)
1 cup scallion, sliced

For the hon shimeji
2 bunches hon shimeji mushrooms
¼ cup EVOO
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 tsp. Fresno chili
¼ tsp. lemon zest

Method
Bring the oil up to low heat in a small pot. Hard sear the mushrooms over high heat, then lower heat and add garlic and chili. Cook for 10 minutes or until very soft. Remove from heat, add the lemon zest and reserve.

For the gremolata
¼ lb. butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. basil, minced

Method
Heat butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add panko. Stir until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add smoked paprika and basil. Mix well and let cool.

For the uni butter (Yield: ¼ cup)
30 grams uni
¼ lb. butter

Method
Bring butter and uni to room temperature. Blend in food processor until smooth.

For the pickled shallots
1 ½ cup white distilled vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
8 oz. shallots, sliced

Method
Bring all ingredients except shallots to a boil. Pour over shallots in a heatproof container to cover. Let sit until cooled.
Drain and chill.

Assembling the dish
  1. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of water in an 8-quart sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add gemelli or other fresh pasta. (see note below)*
  3. Stir briefly, then add mushrooms mixture and stir in well.
  4. Add the shrimp stock and cook over medium heat until it is reduced by two-thirds, about four minutes.
  5. Add uni butter bit-by-bit and incorporate slowly to thicken stock.
  6. Spoon the pasta mixture into eight bowls.
  7. Top the pasta with fresh, thinly sliced purple basil, gremolata, pickled shallots and sliced scallions and serve immediately.

*If you use a commercial dry pasta, choose a short pasta like gemelli, triofie or strozzapreti. Cook it according to package directions but take it from the cooking water four minutes before it is finished and bring it to room temperature. It will finish cooking with the rest of the ingredients.