Shiitakes are delicious simply sautéed with olive oil and a pinch of fresh herbs, such as thyme, but they also pair well with asparagus, spinach, kale, or cabbage. Pastas or risottos make a natural fit, as do vegetable stir-fries and Asian dishes. A number of restaurant chefs combine Martha’s Vineyard Mycological shiitakes with fish; I recently made a dish pairing them with Island bay scallops, garlic, lemon, and local kale that I will certainly make again during bay scallop season.

At The Covington in Edgartown, the mushroom takes center stage, no seafood required. The vegetarian pasta featuring meaty MVM shiitakes is a crowd favorite.

  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 12 ounces shiitake ragu (see recipe below)
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 ounce parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fried garlic, divided into 4 portions
  • Lemon zest
  • Pea greens

For the shiitake ragu:

  • 3/4 pound MVM shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/2 pound white onions
  • 1/4 pound carrots
  • 1/4 ounce garlic
  • 1/2 ounce sherry
  • 20 ounces mushroom stock (see note below)
  • 3/4 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder
  • Pinch of rosemary, fresh or dried
  • Pinch of thyme, fresh or dried
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Note: To make the mushroom stock, simmer removed mushroom stems in water. You can also substitute with chicken stock. 

1. Crush garlic and chop roughly.

2. Grate carrots and onion. Add all ingredients to pan.

3. Sauté garlic, carrots, and onion in olive oil until translucent.

4. Cut the mushrooms into quarters. In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms in a bit of olive oil for 10 minutes.

5. After mushrooms have roasted, add to vegetable mixture and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until golden.

6. Deglaze the pan with the sherry.

7. Add stock, mushroom powder, and spices, stirring to incorporate. Allow to simmer 30 to 45 minutes, adding more stock if the ragu begins to dry out.

8. Adjust seasoning to taste. Allow to cool and reserve, or complete pasta.

To assemble the dish:

1. Cook preferred pasta to al dente.

2. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, warm the mushroom ragu with butter.

3. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauté pan with ragu and a splash of reserved pasta cooking water.

4. Toss pasta and ragu to incorporate. Add half the Parmesan and parsley. Allow to reduce slightly, approximately thirty seconds.

5. Divide into four pasta bowls, topping each with fried garlic and remaining Parmesan and lemon zest. Garnish with fresh pea greens.