Tag Archives: Pancetta

{ Fusilli with Creamy Mushroom Pea Sauce }

Fusilli with Pancetta and Creamy Mushroom Pea Sauce

I am always talking about food. When I go out and get drunk, I make friends by talking to strangers about food. When I meet someone of a different ethnic background, I establish common ground by talking to them about their culture’s food. When I get together with my closest friends and family, we bond over meals discussing our most recent culinary endeavors. I really do live my life all things food, and I believe it is one thing that connects us all—I mean everyone needs to eat, right?

By having a basic fundamental understanding of several different types of cuisine, I find that I can relate to almost any person and/or culture. And when someone starts talking to me about food, forget it! I get all sorts of worked up into a passionate discussion, obnoxiously waving my hands around as I go off on a million words per minute tangent. I think my boss genuinely fears when customers at our restaurant ask me for recommendations because he knows that I won’t be working during the half hour that I spend detailing every dish on the menu. Of course, you can probably also imagine how excited I get when people ask me for recipes! I love sharing great food with people, and was beyond excited when I received request for an Italian recipe this past week. It felt great knowing that someone actually wanted to hear what I had to say, and wasn’t just directed to my blog via facebook out of boredom. So I went through my recipe binder and pulled out a favorite pasta dish of mine—Fusilli with Pancetta and Creamy Mushroom Pea Sauce. This recipe makes for an awesome main dish or even side dish for meats. It is super easy to make and requires very little ingredients, so you won’t be spending a fortune at the grocery store!

I got this recipe out of an Eating Well Magazine a few years back and it caught my eye because it was a creamy pasta dish that was relatively light on calories. I love a good cream sauce, but try to stay away from them because I know just how many pounds a plate of alfredo sauce can set you back in your diet. This pasta dish is satisfying like a regular cream sauce but is much lighter and therefore in my opinion much more enjoyable. It almost like a macaroni and cheese crossed with an alfredo…its divine. The mushrooms add a great earthy flavor to and the spice of the cracked black pepper is a must!! Of course, you can always substitute the frozen peas for fresh English shelled peas, but I keep it simple and just cook the frozen ones out with the pasta.

Just be very careful not to burn the garlic when cooking this dish, so constantly be stirring the ingredients (especially after you add the mushrooms) and make sure the heat isn’t too high. Also, remember when cleaning mushrooms not to run them directly under water. To properly clean a mushroom, dampen a paper towel and gently wipe off the mushrooms. If you run a mushroom under water, it will absorb too much water and not cook properly.

This recipe will make enough for about 4-5 people, based on a 2 cup serving size. Enjoy!

{ Ingredients }

  • 8 ounces pasta (I use Fusilli)
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups quartered crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

{ To Make Pasta }Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and peas and cook until tender. Strain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook prosciutto until it begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant (careful not to burn!), about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and most of their liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat. Add wine and let simmer for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, return to simmer and cook, stirring until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and pepper.

Add the peas and pasta to the pan and stir to coat.

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{ Linguine All’Amatriciana }

Linguine All'Amatriciana

When I come home from college, I bring my appetite because my mom is truly a fabulous cook. She is the one who really got me interested in cooking and food in the first place…I mean lets face it, serious “foodies” are not the kind of people who were raised on SpaghettiOs and Ramen Noodle Soup. In fact, I had never even tasted jarred tomato sauce until college!! My mom always cooked gourmet meals when I was growing up and so she taught me to appreciate the flavors of fresh herbs and vegetables at an early age, which slowly developed into a passion as I got older.

Although I love all of my mom’s food, I love her pasta dishes the most! Tonight, her and I cooked out a box of linguine and made a trio of pasta sauces to have a little Italian pasta sampling of sorts! I made my Pesto recipe (which I have blogged about), and my mom made an impromptu Walnut Sage Sauce (which I will blog about) and an Amatriciana Sauce (which I am blogging about). This Amatriciana sauce is an excellent and easy red sauce to make for any kind of pasta, even though I prefer it with linguine. The pancetta gives a great hearty depth of flavor to the sauce and the San Marzano tomatoes are so sweet and delicious. It is really important that you spend the extra $1.50 and buy the San Marzano tomatoes for this dish, because other brands do not taste the same. There isn’t too much more to say about this simple sauce other than that it is delicious, so enjoy!

Ohhh, there is just one more thing that makes this sauce even better…it freezes really well! So if you set some aside before tossing in the pasta, you can put it in the freezer and enjoy it a couple weeks later!

{ Ingredients }

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces Pancetta (cut into small bits)
  • 1 ½ large Spanish onions (diced)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (28-Ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes, passed through the food mill

**Seeds make the sauce bitter

  • 1 pound linguine
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish

{ To Make the PastaCoat a large saucepan with oil and allow pancetta to cook over low heat until brown and crispy. Remove and set aside the pancetta and then increase saucepan to medium heat, adding the onions and crushed red pepper. Season generously with kosher salt, to taste. Cook onions until they are translucent and turning golden. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for about 1 hour, tasting periodically. Adjust the salt, as needed.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (should be as salty as the Dead Sea) to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook al dente (about 1 minute less than the instructions on package call for). Then drain the pasta and add it directly to the pan of sauce. DO NOT rinse the pasta because then the sauce will not adhere to it!! Stir to coat the pasta with sauce, then add in the cheese and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss to coat and serve with additional shaved Parmesan and fresh chopped basil!

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