Pasta served with a shallot white wine sauce is much lighter than the cream-based alternatives that permeate Americanized Italian food. Paired with mushrooms, the sauce has a rich, earthy flavor. I served this dish recently at a dinner party for vegetarian friends. Preparation was easy. I use pappardelle pasta, which are large broad noodles similar to fettuccine. The name “pappardelle” derives from the verb “pappara” meaning to gobble up–and that is exactly what guests did with this dish. You can omit the cheese if you like (or if you want to make it vegan). Finishing with a drizzle of truffle oil can also add more richness and flavor.
Pappardelle With Wild Mushrooms
- 10 ounces dried pappardelle
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound fresh mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, shiitake, sliced
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 6 ounces Taleggio cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1 In a large pot, cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid for later. Toss the pasta with olive oil and set aside.
- Step 2 Line a baking sheet with paper towel and set aside.
- Step 3 In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. When hot, add half the mushrooms and brown, stirring only occasionally. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat the above with the remaining mushrooms.
- Step 4 Add shallots to skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Step 5 Add mushrooms back to the pan with the shallots and add the wine, cook until wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
- Step 6 Add about 3/4 of a cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a boil. Swirl in remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Step 7 Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture and mix well. Add the cheese and parsley and toss gently to coat. Add the parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper again before serving.