09 August 2011

Dishes with Dee: Creamy Mushroom and Herb Sauce with Whole Grain Pasta

Well, although the name is really long, this vegetarian dish from the Rachael Ray Show is actually super easy.

Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble keeping a smile on my face.  I can't seem to pinpoint what's up with my attitude, but put me over a hot stove with fresh garlic sizzling, and whatever is bothering me completely melts away.  (Note:  For best results add a glass (or two) of wine to this activity.  Red.) 

So here's what ya need:

  • About 3 tablespoons EVOO (Our girl Rach recommends about three turns of the pan)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped and thinly sliced (Baby Bellas-- I used almost two packages)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (I used two small, shallots can be over powering in my opinion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • About 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf (Scrap that-- I used basil because that's what I had)
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste, from a tube (I used three of some regular tomato paste from a can)
  • About 1/2 cup dry sherry or Marsala wine (I think Marsala is so much more "Italian" tasting)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • A few grates nutmeg
  • 1 pound whole wheat or whole grain pasta – long or short cuts both work with this sauce, I enjoy linguini with it
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls plus some to pass at table (Shaved Parmesan was what I already had in the fridge)   
  • Chopped toasted hazelnuts (Meh-- I'd say I used less than 1/4 cup)
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley or watercress

  • And here's what ya do:
  • Slice up those 'shrooms

Chop up those shallots and that garlic!

Chop the herbs.  Note:  This may seem obvious, but you'll want to take the stems out of the equation.  For the thyme and rosemary, if you grip lightly at the top and just run your thumb and forefinger down the stem the leaves fall right off!  Easy-peasy!

   Next, add EVOO and butter to a large pan (I actually used my wok, but my wok is more pan-like anyway).  Let it heat up for a bit (I waited until the butter melted completely) over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and allow to brown.  About 12-15 minutes.  Note:  About 7-10 minutes in, start the high heat on your salted water so you can get it boiling  Another Note:  Do not add salt to the shrooms yet!  The salt pulls out moisture and will cause the mushrooms to brown unusually quickly and then you will have mushy mushrooms!)

Now add your shallots, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  You want to stir them in and then allow everything to cook a few more minutes.  Your mouth will be watering--I promise.

Once you can really smell the shallots and garlic going, you should add your tomato paste.  Its going to be a little sticky, so be sure and let it heat up and mix in before moving on to the next step.
Add Marsala, stir.
Add heavy cream, stir.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer.  Now your water should be boiling and you'll want to add the pasta.  Also, now would be a good time to turn your hazelnuts on low heat to toast.  Just give them a quick turn every few minutes.
Once your pasta is finished cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the starchy water and drain.  Add your pasta to the mushroom sauce and stir to coat.  Add some of the pasta water if things aren't looking uniform to help everything come together.  I think I ended up using about 1/2 cup.  Add to a bowl for serving and top with nuts and parsley.  I also added some cheese and put some out on the table.

So this was amazing.  The recipe actually serves 4 and it was only Jeff and I so we had a ton of leftovers.  If you're one of those folks who never eats your leftovers-- trust me, cut this in half.

Here is the recipe on Rachael Ray's website!  Enjoy :)

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