Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Your Traditional Spaghetti

We tried a new pasta dish last night, Spaghetti with Portabellas, Sage and Walnuts. It was a bit hard to describe taste-wise. It was light because of the lack of sauce but then the exorbitant amount of butter that I used made it rich. The amount of butter it called for won't make any Southerners bat an eye but this might scare away all the health nuts. I plan to make this meal again but next time I might add more mushrooms which would make it a bit "meatier."

With the pasta, I had a glass of Alexander & Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon. It was cheap and good. A lot cabernets are complex and heavier but this one was lighter making it a better choice with the pasta.

Spaghetti with Portabellas, Sage & Walnuts from Fine Cooking magazine
Makes four servings

3/4 lb. dried spaghetti
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 large portabella mushroom caps, gills scraped out and discarded, caps thinly sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until it’s tender but still firm to the tooth, about 9 min. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and 2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re brown and tender, 4 to 5 min. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

In the same sauté pan, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add the sage leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally until they darken and crisp and the flecks of milk solids in the butter are golden brown, 3 to 5 min. Return the mushrooms to the pan and pile in the walnuts, the cooked pasta, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta continuously with tongs to coat well, adding more water as needed so the pasta is moist, 1 to 2 min. (If your skillet isn’t big enough, you can toss everything together in the pasta pot.) Season with salt and pepper, mound into bowls, and sprinkle generously with the Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

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