Rosemary Linguine with Mushrooms

This is my first full weekend off since Labor Day.  I’ve worked 115 hours in the last two weeks.  You can imagine what that’s done to my eating habits.  The last two weeks have been filled with pizza, takeout Chinese food and tacos.  Ugh.  Enough already!  Tonight I really wanted an elegant dinner at home.  I wanted it enough to brave the Kroger for truffle oil on a day when the whole city is in storm preparation mode.  Let me tell you, that is no small commitment.

If you’re a Cooking Light subscriber then you know that the November issue marks the 25th anniversary of the magazine.  If you’re not a subscriber it’s really worth picking up this issue.  There’s good stuff in there.  One of the best things I saw was this recipe for Pappardelle with Mushrooms.  It’s so much richer and more wonderful than the name suggests.  The magazine makes a point of recommending (generally, not just for this recipe) that you use the best ingredients you can afford.  Very good advice.  I bought my mushrooms and my pasta at the farmers’ market this morning. (Hats off to Steve Haas, the mushroom guy, and Bombolini Pasta).  You won’t find much better stuff than that.

This dish is pretty easy.  One pot for the sauce and one for the pasta.  That’s it.  I only made one substitution – half and half instead of heavy cream.  Oh, and instead of plain pappardelle I used the most wonderful Rosemary Linguine.  Since I had the rosemary in there I left out the sage in the original recipe.  I got shiitake and cremini mushrooms this morning and I used one bag of each.  I have a good quality parmesan in the house.  I’ll tell you that 2 ounces is a lot in a real parmesan.  I didn’t use that much.

I did simplify things a little.  The recipe calls for dried porcinis reconstituted in water.  And it calls for you to cook the pasta kind of early on and then save some of the pasta water.  I find that doesn’t work all that well if you’re using fresh pasta.  Fresh pasta should really be done at the last minute and only for a minute or so.  I scrapped both of those elements and used ½ C of chicken stock instead. (I had some leftover from the Pumpkin Soup).

The flavors here are sophisticated and wonderful.  It was quite a treat.  Creamy, earthy, sweet, salty and pungent – all but perfect.  The rosemary flavor in the linguine is subtle, but definitely present.  The sauce is creamy without being heavy.  The mushrooms give it substance without overwhelming it.  Of course the truffle oil is the ‘piece de resistance’.  Even a teaspoon is enough to give the dish a touch of decadence you couldn’t get any other way –  at least not without buying actual truffles.  Next time I might add just a touch of fresh parsley to give it a bright, fresh finish.  That to say, there will be a next time.  I’m already looking forward to leftovers!

Good? Oh so good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Would be very elegant for a dinner party
Special shopping? No, major grocery stores carry a variety of mushrooms if you don’t have a farmers’ market that carries them and I found the truffle oil in my local Kroger.

Rosemary Linguine with Mushrooms

Ingredients

• 2 twists fresh rosemary linguine
• 3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
• 2 (4-ounce) packages exotic mushroom blend, sliced or coarsely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons dry sherry
• ½ C chicken or vegetable stock
• 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
• 1/4 cup half and half
• 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
• 1 teaspoon truffle oil

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, mushroom blend, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in sherry and salt; cook 1 minute or until the liquid evaporates.
2. Finely grate 1 ounce cheese; crumble remaining cheese. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in stock, 1/4 cup grated cheese, cream, and pepper into mushroom mixture.
3. Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon salt in boiling water 1-2 minutes.
4. Add cooked pasta to mushroom mixture. Drizzle with truffle oil; toss well to combine.

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