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Friday, April 13, 2012

Milan: Relaxed Elegance and Mushroom Pasta

Weekday version:  Mushroom Tagliatelle

Weekend Version:  Mushroom, Pine Nut Rotondo with Pesto Parmesan Froth
I am blessed to have many Italian friends and they represent generosity and passion for me.  Again, this is reflected in meals we get to share with them.  The food and wine are abundant and delicious and the conversation is always lively and spirited.  It is always a joy.

After visiting Milan recently for the first time, another description of this culture comes to mind.  It is one of relaxed elegance.     I had a wonderful mushroom pasta dish in a beautiful little interior garden Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone in the heart of the Quadrilatero dela Moda.   The mood was one of quiet appreciation of the beautiful surroundings, the food and the people you have the chance to share a meal with.

Mushroom pasta is something I make regularly at home.  It is easy and quick and with the right Italian ingredients that I always can keep on hand (like olive oil, pine nuts, pesto), can turn into something really good.  Here is take 1 of two recipes using similar ingredients but presented two ways:

Mushroom Tagliatelle  as a quick weekday meal

You will need:  for 4 starter sized portions or 2 generous portions
  • 1 shallot (30 g) finely diced
  • 1 tbsp (15ml)  of olive oil
  • 1 package (250g) of fresh tagliatelle pasta (or linguine, or spaghetti)
  • 1 tsp of mixed dried Italian spice (oregano, basil, hot peppers)
  • 2 cups (150g) of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 2 tbsp of pesto
  • 1 cup (250ml) of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of cream
  • 1/4 cup  (15 g) of fresh Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) of toasted pine nuts (heat in a non stick pan until they begin to color)
  • fresh chopped basil and ground pepper
  1. Start by preparing the sauce as you will finish cooking the pasta in it;
  2. In a large pan, sauté the diced shallot in olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes;
  3. Add the dry spice mix and cook for about 30 seconds to release the flavor;
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook (about 8 minutes);
  5. Add white wine and let it completely evaporate;
  6. Add the chicken stock, pesto and cream and simmer for about 3 minutes;
  7. Taste and season if needed;
  8. Keep warm while you cook the pasta
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;
  10. Add the fresh pasta and boil for about 2 minutes (the pasta will cook very quickly and you want to make sure it stays al dente as it should finish cooking in the sauce to absorb its flavor);
  11. Return the sauce to the heat.  When it begins to boil, transfer the ad dente pasta to it and stir gently until the pasta is well coated;
  12. When the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce, add the Parmesan and roasted pine nuts.
  13. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with more Parmesan, ground pepper and fresh basil.
Time Investment:  Prep time:  10 minutes, Cooking time:  20 minutes, Total time:  30 minutes

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Josee! We had this recipe as a main course tonight, and it was perfect! Next time: the Rotondo...


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