lunedì 22 febbraio 2016


Pasta entree - Vegetarian - Can be lactose and gluten free (READ footnotes)

Second recipe deriving from our wedding anniversary meals: the pasta dish!! I love mushrooms (and I don't think is a secret ;-) ) so I made both main dishes with some of them! This recipe is really easy and rather quick to prepare, yet flavorful and decadent. Only one thing: please, never cook pasta and set aside to prepare the sauce!!! You should always have your sauce waiting for your pasta, NOT the other way around (and I see it more times that I'd like, in many recipe books).

1 lb. Italian Penne pasta
4 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 oz. Italian dried porcini mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1/2 onion, cut in thin wedges
1 cup Italian San Marzano peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup brandy
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt

Soak porcini in little lukewarm water for 20-25 minutes. When soaked, remove them from water and squeeze excess water away; reserve the soaking water, carefully straining it, to remove all impurities.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once water boils, add salt and pasta; stir and cook. In the meantime, prepare your sauce.

In a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, warm olive oil and sautee garlic until golden, then remove it.

Add onions and all mushrooms and sautee for 2-3 minutes then deglaze pan with brandy.

Once alcohol evaporates, add San Marzano tomatoes (roughly crushed with a fork) and a couple tablespoons of juice; cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the soaking water.

When sauce reaches your desired doneness and thickness, melt cream cheese in it.

Drain pasta a couple minutes earlier than al dente and finish cooking in the sauce: just before draining, reserve some of the pasta cooking water, you'll need it to finish cooking your pasta and avoid sauce to thicken too much.

This recipe serves 4-5

- You can use cream instead of cream cheese, I have a hard time digesting it and that's why I use cream cheese.
- If you like a stronger flavor, use 2 oz. of dried porcini.
- Soak porcini in little water, enough to cover them. I used a little more, and used some of that water for the chicken breast rolls (last week's recipe that you can find here).
- I used, instead of San Marzano, the fresh tomato sauce I prepared and froze last summer. If you have something like that, use it, otherwise you can use our Pomodorina (an outstanding ready-to-go sauce).
- It's vegetarian. Use non dairy cream or cream cheese for a vegan and lactose free version. Use a GOOD Italian gluten free pasta, for a gluten free dish!

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