Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Impromptu Pasta

Posted May 4, 2010

Spaghettini with Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Tarragon

Dana Treat Original
Serves 4-6

I used a spaghettini here which is like a cross between angel hair and spaghetti.  I think angel hair would be too thin and delicate for this dish, but spaghetti would be fine.  The first time I made this, I used freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  The second time I used Pecorino which I liked better but either is fine.

Olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, or a combination, quartered
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 pound asparagus, tough stalks trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1″ pieces
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for passing at the table
2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound spaghettini or spaghetti

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the shalltos and a large pinch of salt.  Sauté until starting to brown, about 4 minutes, then add the mushrooms.  Sprinkle in the fresh thyme and allow to cook, stirring very occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, and about half of it has cooked off.  Add the asparagus and fresh tarragon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is cooked through but not too soft.  Turn heat to low.  (At this point, the dish can be made a couple of hours ahead, but I would wait to add the asparagus until just before getting ready to start the pasta.  If it sits too long, it will lose its beautiful color.)

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the spaghettini and cook until al dente.  Using tongs, transfer the pasta directly to the asparagus/mushroom mixture along with about ½ cup of the cooking liquid and the cream.  Continuing to use the tongs, coat the noodles with the vegetables and the creamy sauce, adding more cooking liquid as necessary if it seems too dry.  Sprinkle in another pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the Pecorino cheese and toss to incorporate.

Serve in wide soup bowls with additional Pecorino cheese.

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