Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas

I found this recipe a few years ago on a blog called Tigers & Strawberries. It's very simple but a little time consuming. I typically take a book into the kitchen with me while making this because, while it doesn't have to be watched constantly, you do have to check on it periodically. I'm absent-minded enough that if I left the room, I'd forget about it until I smelled it burning. So instead I use the time to read while keeping an eye on it.

The flavor in this dish is so intense and delightful that it is totally worth the time it takes to make it! It's one of our favorite meatless meals because the mushrooms stand in for the meat in such a wonderful way that you don't feel like you're being cheated at all.

Since moving to Argentina, it's not easy to find some of the ingredients (like shiitake mushrooms and fresh or frozen peas) so I've substituted plain old button mushrooms, eliminated the peas altogether, and the dish is still delicious.

3 T butter or olive oil
2-1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 t salt
1 t Aleppo pepper (I usually substitute red pepper flakes)
3 baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated in boiling water, squeezed out, stem removed and cap thinly sliced
1-1/2 T minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup dry sherry
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup shredded paresan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
pasta of your choice, prepared al dente

Heat butter or olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or pan. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they turn a deep golden color. [Note: this takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes so be patient!] Increase the heat to high, add Aleppo pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the liquid from the mushrooms has mostly cooked off. Turn heat down to medium, add garlic and cook another minute or two.
Deglaze the pan with sherry, scraping up browned bits until the alcohol cooks off. Then add the cream and cook, stirring, until the cream coats the back of a spoon.
Add the peas and parmesan and cook until peas are a brilliant green, and the cheese has melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, add pasta to pan, remove from heat and stir and toss to coat the pasta thoroughly. Serve.

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