A pasta love affair can be quite hard to sustain for extended periods of time, at least if you’re in an uphill struggle against weight gain; all the best sauces are rich in cream or butter, so you’re left with just pomodoro sauces and their variants; easy to overdose on after a couple of weeks. So whenever I bump into a pasta recipe that isn’t dairy heavy and not tomato based, I tend to pay attention (not that I’m promoting light food here on the blog, God forbid!).
I first bumped into this recipe on epicurious.com but something about it seemed off; so I’ve made a couple of changes, namely adding brandy to the sauce to give it a deep earthy richness and then letting go of the lemon zest. We tried it with and without the lemon zest, and it tasted pretty damn good with it, it’s just that the sauce is so delicate, especially if you splurge on the mushrooms, that it ends up overpowering it. Sprinkling some chopped fresh parsley over the top just before serving should be sufficient to lighting the dish up and make it pop.
Here’s the recipe
(Serves 4) 500g of long pasta, we used spaghetti, but I think a fettucine would be best
400g of mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced into 1/2cm thick slices, divide them into 2 piles of 300g and 100g. We used button mushrooms, Portobello and enokitake. Keep the most delicate mushrooms (such as the enokitake) on the side.
1 garlic clove chopped finely
2 tbsp of fresh parsley
3 + 2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of brandy
1 1/2 cup of boiling water
1 tsp of chopped fresh thyme
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Optional addition, lemon zest
In a very small saucepan or pot, pour in the boiling water and add the 100g of fresh mushrooms, allow to simmer on a low heat for about 20-30min until the water is flavoured with the mushrooms and you’ve made about 1 cup of a good mushroom broth. In another large pan, over a medium to medium high heat, add the 3 tbsp of butter and melt until the foam subsides, add the garlic and saute until soft but not coloured (about 1.5-2min) . Add the mushrooms (except any delicate types you’ve kept on the side) and saute until browned (about 7 minutes) add the brandy then the mushrooms with the broth from the other pot/pan. Lower the heat to medium and allow the sauce to reduce until the alcohol from the brandy is cooked off (about 15mins), toss in the delicate mushrooms. While the sauce was reducing, cook the pasta until al dente (8mins) and then add to the sauce. Mix in and melt the last two tbsp of butter and season with salt and pepper. If the pasta is a little dry ladle in some pasta water. Serve the pasta immediately and sprinkle on top the parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy! (I sprinkled some toasted pine nuts over the top as well, but that goes without saying, eh?)