Monday, March 2, 2009

Pasta Con Cavolo E Funghi

Is there anything better than a big bowl of pasta with a crusty loaf of bread, a green salad, and a glass of red wine? There are few pleasures in life so easily assembled yet so exquisite. After all how often does one throw together a pot of boiling water and crack a jar of prepared sauce for a quick meal with the aforementioned accoutrements. I eat pasta at least five times a month, sometimes more if I am trying to stretch the dollar or have been mostly eating solo. Last night I had a craving for one such meal and made a tasty pasta dish for Mike, my mother, and our friend Andrea. My credo is that it is best to cook seasonally and improvise with ingredients that call out from the farmer’s market or grocery aisles. Last night’s dinner adhered to this criteria; featuring kale and cremini mushrooms, two ingredients that reflect the winter season. I rarely make cream sauces except when I cook classic French bistro fare but for some reason last night I was feeling an Alfredo variant. If you like kale you are going to love this dish and will want to make it again and again. I find it is best to prepare the two vegetables separately then make the sauce, assembling everything at the end. I choose Gemelli noodles for this particular dish but any other small tubular or curly pasta will do. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

Pasta Con Cavolo E Funghi
Gemelli With Kale And Cremini Mushrooms
Serves 5

For Kale:

1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced small
2 Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. Red Chili Flakes
1 lb. Kale, fibrous ribs removed and roughly chopped
1 Cup Water
1/4 tsp. Salt

For Mushrooms:

1 tsp. Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Cremini Mushrooms, stems removed and diced into 1/4 pieces
1/4 tsp. Salt

For Pasta & Sauce:

1 lb. Gemelli Pasta
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1/8 tsp. All Purpose Flour
1/2 Yellow Onion, minced
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
Salt & Black Pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until translucent, 4-5 mins. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Toss in half of the kale and cook down until volume has reduced. Incorporate the second bunch of kale along with water and salt. Cover immediately and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 mins stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook until all remaining water has evaporated, 10-12 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium high heat until shimmering, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and salt and cook until all water has been leached out and evaporated, 10-12 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Bring 4-6 quarts of salted water to a boil over high heat. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add flour and cook until lightly browned and smooth stirring frequently, 3-5 mins. Incorporate onions and cook another 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in kale, mushrooms, and heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until
al dente, 11-12 mins. Cook and drain pasta, add directly to sauce, stir in parmesan, and cook for 2 mins until all ingredients are well incorporated. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

1 comment:

Monique said...

I'd love to have you try Al Dente Pasta with one of your recipes. At my website or blog, you'll see we have a lot in common. Love of France and Cooking and Pasta.