This recipe was destined to be written! The sun, the moon, and the stars truly aligned! I was fortunate to receive Seeductive Foods plant-based cheese samples, and I knew when I saw the Truffle Peppercorn cheese it was meant for a pasta dish! I found an artisan porcini tagliatelle pasta at our local farmer’s market a few days later. Once I had the pasta, I made my way over to my friend JT, grabbed some lion’s mane mushrooms, and the rest, they say it’s history!
The first thing to note about this recipe is how simple it is. The other is the importance of pressing the mushrooms! I tried making a marinade for the mushrooms, but it made them soggy because Lion’s Mane has a very high water content. So I decided to try a dry rub using my Montreal steak seasoning, which was perfection! Pressing the mushrooms helps remove the water and gives them a nice dense “steak-like” texture.
If you’re unfamiliar, a lion’s mane is a large, white mushroom that, as it grows, has a shaggy appearance resembling a lion’s mane. Aside from being super steamy delicious, studies have demonstrated that lion’s mane helps increase Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)levels, protecting us against degenerative brain diseases contributing to memory loss.
Lions mane also has immune-boosting benefits. When harmful pathogens enter the body through the mouth or nose as we breathe in, Lion’s mane can bolster our defenses by helping to stimulate gut bacteria to trigger the immune system!
I discovered the wondrous Lion’s Mane from vegan chef Derek Sarno, and this is a take on his recipe. You can use any pasta or plant-based cream-style cheese, but this recipe is about the mighty lion!
Truffle Peppercorn Tagliatelle:
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Keep about a cup of pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce later.
- Warm a large saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is warm, add olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant, but not brown.
- Add heavy cream and bring the sauce to a simmer, about 5-7 minutes, until nice and thick. The spoon should leave a line/trail as you run it through the sauce.
- Turn the heat to low and add cheese, stirring until melted and fully incorporated.
- Taste the sauce and add salt or fresh black pepper as needed.
- Add drained pasta and toss to combine.
- Top with fresh parsley.
Lion’s Mane Steaks:
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF/200ºC
- Mix all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
- Lightly wipe mushrooms with a wet paper towel to remove dirt or residue. *Do not wash or submerge.
- Heat cast iron pan on medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, add oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, place the mushrooms stem side down in the pan for 90 seconds to let them soften.
- Place a steak weight or smaller cast iron pan on the mushrooms.
- Using a potholder or folded kitchen towel, gently press the weight down on the mushrooms. As the mushrooms release water, press harder on the pan or weight. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pan or weight and wipe the water from the bottom. Flip Lion’s Mane using tongs, add more oil and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle dry rub over Lion’s Mane, searing each side.
- Place the cast iron pan in the oven for 12 minutes when the Lion’s Mane is browned. Remove, let it rest for a few minutes.
- Slice and place over pasta.