It’s safe to say that mushrooms are, well, in vogue. Over the past year, the world of fashion has worn its love for shrooms on its sleeve, whether in Iris Van Herpen’s undulating fungal frills for spring 2021, Sarah Burton’s trippy mycelia embroidery for Alexander McQueen fall 2022, or Jonathan Anderson’s curiously toadstool-like collection for fall 2021. In the beauty and wellness sphere, everyone’s talking about the anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms in skincare products, while the phenomenon of psilocybin microdosing is showing no signs of stopping. And that’s without even mentioning the ubiquitous mushroom lamps of all shapes and sizes taking over TikTok. 

Even so, there’s still nowhere like the kitchen to really get the best out of fungi—and for photographer Andrea Gentl, the “diverse, healthy, adaptogenic magic mycelia of the fungi kingdom” has been an obsession since she was a child. Like the aforementioned designers, Gentl was first excited by the aesthetic of mushrooms, constantly drawing them as a kid. Later, as she developed her career as a food photographer, mushrooms became her “constant muse,” as she writes in her new book, Cooking With Mushrooms.

Within the very first pages, it is clear that the cookbook is as complex as mycelia—and just as enticing. Gentl leaves no stone unturned, including recipes for butters, powders, broths, and even infused alcohols alongside plenty of innovative dishes and salads. She also clearly explains a variety of cooking techniques to get the most out of the mushrooms you’re working with. Did you know you could dry sauté most varieties? There’s enough water in them that additional fats are not always needed. “You can cook mushrooms in the way that you cook anything,” Gentl explains. “You can sear, you can grill, you can pickle, you can poach. Most people just think about a hot pan and some butter and some oil and some garlic—but there are so many other ways to eat them!”

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Enoki mushrooms grow in a bundle of ghostly white strands. Once trimmed, each bundle can be separated into a pile of individual mushrooms. They are delicate and a little crunchy when cooked. When thrown into salted boiling water, the mushrooms take on an angel hair pasta–like appearance. This dish is an incredibly simple nod to two classic Italian pastas, alfredo and cacio e pepe, with just a handful of ingredients: enoki, butter, parmesan, black pepper, grated nutmeg, and a drizzle of olive oil at the finish, for extra gloss. It’s a perfect recipe for anyone who doesn’t eat gluten but wants the indulgence of saucy, creamy pasta for dinner. Could enoki be the new spaghetti squash? Perhaps!

Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil.Trim the enoki and separate the strands into piles. Cook the mushrooms in the boiling water for 1½ minutes. Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml) cooking liquid and drain the mushrooms.Return the mushrooms to the pot. Add the butter, stirring until melted. Add the parmesan and stir vigorously until the sauce is glossy and creamy. Add a little of the reserved cooking water, if needed.Top with pepper, a scant grating of nutmeg, and a drizzle of oil, and serve.\

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