19 January 2010

Winter Brain Food: Parmigiano Pasta with Mushrooms

From Denny: Winter just goes together with pasta and fresh pasta is one of those dishes you enjoy making on a chilly day. Making bread or pasta by hand and from scratch is very relaxing and a great way to stress down from a work week when the slower weekend time comes. Even if you don't have the time or the desire for making the pasta yourself, you can still make this dish with fresh pasta from the store which is easy to find.

Mushrooms are the ultimate "brain food" and we love mushrooms at our house. A mushroom cheese pasta, well, there is nothing more comforting on a cold day! This is such an easy sauce to make with aromatic rosemary and tasty white wine to sweeten it.

Sometimes, when I run out of olive oil - or just want a different taste - I use well browned clarified butter run through a fine mesh sieve to collect the browned bits to deliver a clear dark golden oil. Butter this way acquires a wonderful deep buttery flavor with nutty overtones that goes well with herbs and pasta.

Take a look at this soul-satisfying and easy to make rich-tasting Italian comfort food: Pasta with mushrooms and rosemary

Stracchi con funghi
(Pasta “rags” with mushrooms, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano)

From: Chef Missy Robbins, executive chef at A Voce restaurant

Serves: 4


For the fresh pasta

• 4 cups “00” flour (a type of flour available in Italian markets)
• 16 egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1/3 of cup water

For the completed dish

• 32 pc. stracchi
• 3 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 lb. oyster mushrooms
• 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
• 1 cup veal stock (can substitute chicken broth if veal stock is difficult to find)
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 3 TBS butter
• 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
• 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
• Salt and pepper to taste


For the fresh pasta: Make a well with the flour and place the egg and water in the center of the well. With a fork gradually begin to incorporate the flour into the egg and mix until a ball of dough forms.

Knead the dough for a few minutes by hand until it is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Using a pasta machine or KitchenAid pasta attachment, roll out the pasta into thin sheet and cut into squares approximately 4 inches by 4 inches.

For the completed dish: Heat a large pot of water until it boils. Add salt to taste. Heat a large saute pan to high and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute on high heat until the mushrooms are golden in color. Add the white wine to deglaze pan, and then add the veal stock.

Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter and mix until emulsified into the sauce. Set aside. Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook until tender (it will only take about a minute).

Add the pasta to the saute pan with the mushrooms and add a touch of the pasta cooking liquid. Finish cooking the pasta in the mushroom sauce for another minute or so until the sauce and pasta are married together.

Add the rosemary and finish with 1/2 the Parmigiano-Reggiano and divide amongst 4 plates. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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