Monday, September 21, 2009

fancy nancy

I wanted to make a fancy dinner tonight. I don't know why exactly, but I was really in the mood for something fancy. It might be in part because over the weekend I ran into a dear friend from Japan and her sweet husband and family and found out we live 20 minutes away from each other! And she's a total foodie. I'm so excited to get together with her more often and make delicious food. Mmm can't wait. That, and I feel like pasta is so often misunderstood. Pasta is such a beautiful and diverse food, but a lot of people only buy spaghetti (and don't get me wrong, I LOVE spaghetti) and pair it with a jar of tomato sauce of some kind. Not the way to enjoy pasta. Sure, in a pinch whatever works. But homemade sauce is so quick and simple and ... FANCY!

So tonight I was inspired and made a mushroom and white wine sauce with rigatoni and it was amazing. And since it was such a beautiful fall evening, I roasted some butternut and acorn squash as a side.

Creamy White Wine and Mushrooms with Rigatoni
serves 4~6
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb mushrooms (I used cremini, or baby bellas, but shiitake and plain white buttons would be great, too. If you're using white buttons, though, I reccomend using a couple varieties, just for a more complex flavor)
3 T butter
1/2 C heavy cream
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 C white wine (NOT cooking wine. They always say to use a wine good enough to drink. I don't drink so I wouldn't really know what that is, but I always buy a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or a nice-sounding white wine;))
1/4 C very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, bring 1 tablespoon of butter to medium-high heat and melt. Add the shallots with a little salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring often, until very soft and slightly browned. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and add half of the mushrooms with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Once they're browned and released all of their juices, transfer to the same plate as the shallots and cook the other half of the mushrooms with another tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain, and set aside, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Replace all of the shallots and mushrooms back to the pan and heat through. Add the white wine and cook until completely evaporated. Add the cream and let simmer until slightly thickened and reduce the heat to low. Add 3 tablespoon of the parsley and about a 1/4 C of the cheese and stir in.
  5. Gently toss the pasta in with the mushroom mixture, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
  6. Serve warm with extra parsley and cheese.
Roasted Butternut and Acorn Squash
serves 8+
1 butternut squash, cut in half pole-to-pole
1 acorn squash, cut in half pole-to-pole
2 T butter, softenend
1~2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Place the halves of the squash, cut side up, on a a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Spread a teaspoon of butter, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of brown sugar, and season generously with salt and pepper on each half.
  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until caramelized and cooked through. Either serve sections or scoop out with a spoon and gently smash together with a little milk or cream.

1 comment:

nozomi said...

I am also excited to find out that you live so close!! We have to get together and make some nice meals together!! You can teach me all your amazing recipes!!