Use each and every one of these adjectives where appropriate (and possible):

1/2 oz. dried wood ear mushrooms
1/2 oz. dried wild lobster mushrooms
1/2 oz. dried wild matsutake mushrooms
1/2 lb. fresh yellow oyster mushrooms
1/2 lb. fresh white oyster mushrooms
olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 small onion, cut into small dice
1 stalk celery, cut into small dice
1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. peeled plum tomatoes, crushed by hand. Experience has taught tme to always puncture the slippery tomato blob with my thumb first to avoid an explosive splatter. Also get your hand as low down into the pot over the sauce when you squish them, that helps control errant splashes   
1/2 c. wine, white or red
2 T. heavy whipping cream

Put the dried mushrooms in a small mixing bowl and barely cover with boiling water. Let steep for 1 hour. Remove the mushrooms, set aside, and save the soaking liquid but discard any sediment. 

Over medium heat, soften the carrots, onions and celery in a few T. of olive oil. When they've succumbed, turn up the heat, add a bit more oil if need be, and add the garlic and shallots.  Sauté until fragrant. Add the ground beef and brown well. Add the reserved mushroom liquid, the reconstituted wild mushrooms, the squashed tomatoes, and the wine. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the it's very thick, about an hour. If it's still too watery, remove the lid and simmer it down. Salt and pepper as you go along as you see fit. Spoon on the cream at the end, don't mix it in — it'll mix well when you toss with the pasta.

Meanwhile, separaten the oyster mushroom clumps into individual petals. Lightly sauté them in a liberal amount of butter. They are tender things, so keep an eye on them. You don't want them to fall apart.

Toss hot, freshly-cooked pasta with the ragú, be generous with a nice grated hard cheese, and arrange the oyster mushrooms on top. Garnish with herbs.

In a food processor fitted with the cutting blade, reduce a nice big handful of whatever fresh herbs you can get your hands on. I used two sages — lemon and purple, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano.  Add two eggs while chopping the herbs, this both scrambles the eggs and helps reduce the herbs to a finer mince. With the blade pulsing on low, add 1 c. of flour bit by bit. Like 1/4 c. at a time. When all the flour is incorporated, you'll liable to have a crumbly jumble in the work bowl of the processor. With the blade running on low, add cold water 1 t. at time until the dough binds into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the work bowl. Remove the dough ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

More the silkiest pasta, working with a manageable piece of dough, run it through the pasta roller six times. After each pass through the rollers, lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour and fold it over itself. After you've done six spins on the largest setting, roll through each successively thinner setting until you have a long delicate oval of pasta dough. You can lay out these long ovals on dishtowels as you work your way through all the dough. Then use the cutting attachment of the pasta roller to cut each long oval into thick fettuccine ribbons. Lay the pasta ribbons over the dowels of a pasta drying rack. It's okay to discard the less-than perfect pieces. The outer edges of the ovals can result in some irregulars — no biggie, if you're not bothered by imperfection after all this work, who am I to judge.

Let air dry for a couple of hours, then cooking in rapidly boiling salted water. Only takes a couple of minutes (depending on how dry your pasta got. Taste test early and often. Drain and serve with a wonderful sauce.   

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Written by on August 7, 2011 under ALL RECIPES.

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