Before I write about our latest Dinner Club gathering, I have to say I skipped a week. Oh, I was present alright but I forgot to take a photo of the absolutely delicious Butternut Squash Lasagna that C.’s daughter’s made.
C.’s daughter, a farmer who grows the most wonderful vegetables and herbs, has been cooking at Pendle Hill, a local Quaker Retreat House, honing her farm-to-table brilliance. Anyway, for reasons I can’t fully recollect, I forgot to take a photo as we sat down for dinner, which is so not like me because I am usually annoying everyone, delaying dinner, attempting to get the best shot in the best light. However, we did have a guest that evening, a wonderfully talented creator of magical things who stayed with C. while she built spectacular Rammed Earth Walls as part of the Central Park Swarthmore project.
Maybe the talk of the gorgeous walls and the fascinating construction process threw me off.
Maybe it was this damn rain because it has rained the entire month of May, except for maybe two days, Mother's Day being one of them and I took advantage of the sunshine to sand a badly damaged farmhouse table.
I am not exaggerating.
So, the week after the photo fail, it was my turn to cook and to lift our dreary and drenched spirits, I decided to make the ultimate comfort food, pasta. Apparently, I was not the only one because when A. arrived and asked what we were having she said she was hoping for pasta. That’s the wonderful thing about Dinner Club…we wait all week to have a delicious meal prepared for us and we really do anticipate whatever delight is served.
It’s a lovely thing we have going.
I made Pasta with Creamy Mushroom-Pea Sauce from eatingwell.com, a site packed with recipes, menu plans, wine and spirits guides, cooking tips and techniques, nutrition news and much, much more. I made this recipe several times and it’s always a big hit.
This recipes calls for prosciutto and I mistakenly got it sliced. Just ask for 2 ounces of prosciutto at the deli counter and dice it up, it will hold up much better. Bacon will work well too but the Italian stuff is much fancier. Also, I’ve made this recipe with different kinds of mushrooms and all work well but the chanterelles and creminis give the dish an earthy and deep flavor. I like this recipe a little creamier so I added a bit more cream. Oh, and don’t be tempted to use Half & Half instead of heavy cream….you’ll be disappointed because there is something so satisfying, velvety and luscious when proper cream mingles with white wine.
This recipe is quick, delicious and a little fancy. Perfect topped with some Parmesan cheese and served with a crisp Pinot Grigio or Rose.
Pasta with Creamy Mushroom-Pea Sauce
From EatingWell: May/June 2007
8 ounces whole-wheat pasta, such as fusilli or rotini
3 cups shelled English peas, (4 1/2 pounds unshelled) or frozen peas
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces sliced prosciutto, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups quartered cremini, or sliced chanterelle mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
Lots of freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and peas; cook until the pasta is tender and the peas are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook prosciutto, stirring, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms; stir to coat. Add wine and let simmer for 1 minute. Add broth, return to a simmer and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in cream and pepper.
Drain the peas and pasta; return to the pan, add the mushroom sauce and toss to coat.