Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spotting Dinner - Pasta Like a Rock Star

Spring produce is exciting after the cold winter months in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The freshness is welcome and long awaited and bountiful. A vegetable I most look forward to and reminds me of spring is asparagus. When I was TasteSpotting for dinner ideas I came across a pasta dish posted by thepinkpeppercorn. It utilizes there of my favorite ingredients - pasta, mushrooms, and of course asparagus!

Pasta Like a Rock Star

via thepinkpeppercorn
Adapted from InStyle Magazine, creator unknown
(4-6 servings)

1-450 g package penne
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp dry marsala (or madeira)
1 bunch asparagus, cut to 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs - flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chives
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
drizzle of white truffle oil (optional)

1. Bring to a boil a small pot, with 1 inch of boiling water. Add the asparagus for thirty seconds, only to blanch it briefly. Remove into a strainer, and briefly rinse with cold water just until cool. Set aside.
2. Cook the penne according to package directions, but more al dente than suggested (there is ample liquid in the sauce for it to absorb) Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it is bubbling, add the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes. Lower the heat, and add the shallots and garlic; cook 4-5 minutes until the shallots soften.
4. Add the wine, and cook until evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the pan is almost dry. Add the marsala, and salt.
5. Add the cooked penne, asparagus, reserved pasta water, chopped herbs, and parmigiano to the saucepan. Continue to cook until heated through, being careful not to overcook the pasta, but trying to have most of the liquid absorbed by it, 3-4 minutes (depending upon personal taste). Check for seasoning. Drizzle with white truffle oil, but truffle salt is nice too. Serve.

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