Webster Museum

Happy Dan's Kitchen - Fungilli

Happy Dan makes fungilli


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...???...maybe we should try that again.

Join Happy Dan as he explores strange new recipes, seeks out new ingredients and boldly sautés more garlic than anyone before.

Fungilli's Origin

Susan Gibney is an actress who grew up in Webster and returned "home" after a good few years in Hollywood. While she has appeared in a number of television programs including Crossing Jordan and Diagnosis Murder, it is her memorable role as Dr. Leah Brahm in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that garners her the most attention.

In an episode of Star Trek titled "Booby Trap" (season 3, episode 6) and again in Galaxy's Child (season 4, episode 16) Susan's character, Dr. Leah Brahm expresses her love for an Italian dish called Fungilli.

Search your grandmother's cookbooks all you like, you likely won't find a recipe for Fungilli....unless your grandmother owns a copy of the "Star Trek Cookbook" by Ethan Phillips and William Birnes. As it happens our very own, Chef Dan found a copy whilst attending a Star Trek convention in Dubuque, Iowa. It only cost him a small slip of Latinum.

Before you head to the kitchen and start cooking, it should be mentioned that the recipe for fungilli contained within the "Star Trek Cookbook" is somewhat flawed. Fear not! With a few modification a tasty serving of fungilli can be on your plate in no time.

Star Trek Cookbook
The Recipe
Suggested alterations are in blue.

If you like to make your own pasta and have some form of a bread maker and pasta machine, you can have pasta as fresh as today’s harvest. If you don’t, you can still enjoy fungilli in your own kitchen with some of the fresh refrigerated pastas on the market or the veggie pastas in some of the many health-food stores in your town.

Leah Brahms’s and La Forge’s fungilli is actually a heartily spicy pasta made from fresh mushrooms and garlic ground into a pasta dough and served piping hot with garlic-and-olive-oil sauce. You can try to Alfredo it up with a Romano cheese and cream sauce, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the cream and cheese will overpower the subtle flavor of the mushrooms. The garlic will take care of itself.

  • 1 dozen fresh mushrooms (wild are better), chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cups semolina flour 4 cups
  • 2 eggs, beaten 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water
MushroomsBaby Portabello Mushrooms
PureeMushroom Purée

Wash thoroughly about 1 dozen mushrooms of your choice, the more exotic the better. Wild mushrooms have a gamier flavor and usually make a better pasta, but just about any mushroom will do.

Chef Dan used baby portabello mushrooms as he's not fond of foraging around for mushrooms that might kill him.

Next, following the instructions for your brand of bread maker, mix the mushrooms and 6 cloves of crushed garlic into your pasta dough and prepare the pasta dough for your pasta maker.

Merely chopping the mushrooms and garlic would give your pasta an unpleasant texture. Use a food processor to puree the mushrooms and garlic.

This will produce a considerable quantity of puréed mushrooms containing far too much liquid to successfully be combined with a standard pasta recipe.

Flour with EggsFlour with Eggs
DoughDough Divided

Place 3 cups of flour into a mixing bowl and create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well. Add the salt and olive oil and mix by hand. The water is not necessary.

Once combined the dough can be placed into a food processor equipped with a dough paddle and combined with the mushroom purée.

Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it by hand. Slowly add more flour as needed until the pasta dough is firm enough to be run through a pasta maker. You may need more or less flour depending on the amount of moisture in your purée, so add the flour slowly.

Divide the dough into workable sized pieces and run it through the pasta maker's roller attachment on level one (which is the widest setting). If the dough comes out smoothly, fold the dough and continue to run it through the rollers. If the dough gums up, or has rough sections, knead in a little more flour and try again.

After the dough has been successfully run through the rollers multiple times, the rollers can be moved in to level two or three and the flattened dough fed through again. The dough doesn't have to be too thin. If the pasta dough seems too long, cut the pieces down to workable lengths.

When you are happy with the thickness of the dough, it can be run through the pasta machine's cutters at your desired width.

If you have a drying rack, hang the individual pieces to slightly dry or lightly dust them in flour to keep the pieces from sticking together.

Now prepare the pasta, slice it into the shape you want, and cook it in boiling water until al dente.

The pasta will cook quickly and will be ready within a few minutes.

Drain and set aside while you brown 4 sliced garlic cloves in a teaspoon of olive oil.

Just as the cloves begin to sizzle, pour the remaining olive oil over the pasta, add the garlic, and toss with fresh-grated Romano cheese, and serve.

You can also make a version of this dish using store-bought black squid pasta. Follow the same directions for the olive-oil-and-garlic sauce with cheese.

The recipe initially says the cheese is overkill...and it is.

Save any uncooked pasta in an air tight container for up to two weeks. The pasta tends to darken as it ages.


Happy Dan's Kitchen - Fungilli

Art of Cookery

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