Monday, 6 February 2017

Pasta with Mushrooms & Dried Tomatoes

A while back I came across several versions of a dish called "Pasta Milano" which on investigation seems to be people's take on a dish served at a popular Italian-American chain restaurant*. It generally seemed to consist of dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a cream sauce, on pasta, with or without chicken added. The original (which no longer seems to be on the menu) was, as far as I can find out, without chicken added to the pasta, but was served alongside a thin breaded chicken cutlet. Thin breaded chicken cutlets are a genuine Italian dish - Polla alla Milanese, in fact - which gives this thing a bit of a family tree, even if the pasta and sauce part seems to be a purely American invention.

Do I care? Not really! I saw mushrooms - a favourite winter vegetable - and dried tomatoes, of which I have the back-log of years, and pasta, which we will eat any time any place, and said, "I'M IN!"

I didn't bother adding any chicken, but you could - a chicken breast or so cut into bite sized pieces and cooked with the shallots should do the trick. I served it with green peas frozen from our garden, but any green veg you like will finish off the menu.

2 to 3 servings
30 minutes prep time

Pasta with Mushrooms & Dried Tomatoes

Cook the Pasta & Tomatoes:
225 - 250 grams linguini, spaghetti or spaghettini
1/2 cup snipped dried tomatoes

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender according to the time suggested on the packet; stir frequently. Add the dried tomato pieces when there is about 5 minutes left for the pasta to cook. 

Cook the Sauce:
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
3 to 4 large shallots
300 grams (10 ounces) white mushrooms
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon rubbed basil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon soft unbleached flour
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
plus a little more to sprinkle over when serving, if liked

Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and chop the shallots. Clean and slice the mushrooms.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the shallots. Cook for several minutes, stirring regularly, until softened and reduced in volume. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring regularly, until they too are softened, reduced, and lightly browned. Season with the basil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the flour over and mix in well. Add the garlic, mix in well, and continue cooking and stirring for several minutes until the mixture has thickened. Slowly stir in the cream to make a smooth sauce. Simmer very gently until the pasta and tomatoes are ready.

Drain the pasta and tomatoes thoroughly once cooked. Add the Parmesan to the sauce and toss the pasta with the sauce. Place it in the dish or dishes from which it will be taken, and sprinkle with a little more Parmesan if you are so inclined.

*Macaroni Grill - nevah hoid of it (previously).
Last year at this time I made Deli Style Creamy Coleslaw

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