Just because we're living the (extremely) low-carb life this week does not mean that you all should do the same. In fact, I wish I could kick the low carb way of life to the curb, make this rich, heavenly bed of pasta, and have all of you over for dinner. It's that good. We would open several bottles of wine, listen to Italian cafe music (that is, if I'm willing to take a break from Lionel Richie's new duets album which has now been on repeat for the past 24 hours), and I would probably even finish the meal by serving everyone some homemade Nutella gelato. Because greens are good for us, a simple greens salad would find its way onto our plates in between dinner and dessert. It's good for digestion.
The following is my proud and successful attempt to re-create one of the single best meals to have ever had come into my life. During my family's 2007 Italian holiday, I enjoyed Fettucine with Porcini mushrooms on several occasions and each time, I fell in love all over again. Maybe it was the Italian air and the extra wine, but my taste buds have never been happier. I made this for Mark on Valentine's Day with and for my family when I was home in Charlotte in April. Both bowls were equally exquisite...although the Valentine's edition may get an extra gold star because I actually made my own pasta. In true Italian style, Mark and I enjoyed the pasta as a first course on Valentine's day, followed by grilled filet and a simple greens salad. My family and I ate it as a main dish, because my dad says that sometimes, "the pasta likes to be by itself". Either way, this creamy, earthy, mushroom laced goodness took me back to one of my happy places.
Fettucine in a Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce
recipe from Emeril Lagasse
1/2 cup stemmed dried porcini mushrooms (shitake, or other mushrooms are fine as well)
1 cup hot water
1/2 lb. Fettucine, Paparadelle, or Linguine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tsp. minced garlic
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Handful chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.
Place the dried mushrooms in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for approximately 15 minutes, to let the mushrooms reconstitute. Drain the mushrooms through a strainer, reserving the liquid in a clean bowl. Squeeze the mushrooms to extract as much of the flavorful liquid as possible. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside. Again, do not dispose of the mushroom liquid (a.k.a. liquid gold).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 7-8 minutes, until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, over medium head, heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook for about two minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms, and stir while cooking those for another 2 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom liquid, bring it to a boil, and stir while cooking until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 and a half minutes. Next, add the cream, thyme, salt, and pepper and return to a simmer. I never measure salt and add it a little bit at a time to taste. Remember, you will be adding parmesan cheese at the end, so don't salt it too much. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, until the cream is thick and reduced. Add parsley at the very end.
Drain pasta, and mix in the skillet to coat with the sauce, adding the parmesan cheese. Serve in pasta bowls and garnish with parsley and more cheese if desired.