You know when you’re dining at an authentic Italian restaurant and you take that first bite of your pasta dish and you wonder how the hell did they make such a delicious sauce that doesn’t taste like something out of a bottle, well, this is one of those type of sauces.
This wonderful dish comes to you from the lovely Giada DeLaurentis – one of my favorite chefs. I find Giada’s recipes to be simple, effortless, yet delicious.
Just like any other recipe, I tend to make a few swaps in an attempt to healthify a dish. For this recipe I substituted rotini shaped whole grain pasta for rigatoni shaped white pasta, I used extra white wine and skipped the vegetable stock entirely, I used less mascarpone cheese to cut down on fat, and I added extra garlic and some crushed red pepper for additional flavor. How’s that for saving a few calories and adding some extra flavor?
My husband wasn’t too happy when he saw me chopping all those mushrooms because he vehemently despises mushrooms. And unsurprisingly he decided to confront me on why I was making a mushroom pasta in the first place when I know he doesn’t like mushrooms.
This led me to ask him…
me: Exactly why do you hate mushrooms so much?
him: It’s fungus!
me: Yeah, but it’s vegetarian.
him: I just don’t like the way they grow.
me: You eat eggs, and that comes out of a chicken’s ass. Plus you eat meat, and who knows where that’s coming from.
him: True. You do have a point, but I still hate mushrooms. I like chicken and eggs.
me: *SIGH* Okay, I won’t make them for the next few months.
Admittedly once he mentioned the fungus part, I sort of get why he’s not a fan of mushrooms, but c’mon, you have to admit mushrooms taste so yummy especially when sautéed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and garlic.
This recipe is outstanding! The white wine adds depths of flavor to this dish, and the creamy mascarpone tastes so much lighter when combined with white wine. I can’t rave enough about it, however my husband was not too thrilled.
Well, I do sort of love my cooking and sometimes a girl’s gotta keep herself happy, and food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, one that keeps me very happy. Enjoy!
NUTRITION: Whole Wheat Pasta adds Protein and Fiber to this dish. Mushrooms are a very good source of Vitamin B6 and Protein. Mascarpone Cheese is a rich source of Vitamin A and a good source of Protein. Parmesan Cheese is a good source of Calcium and Protein. With that said, cheese is high in fat and saturated fat, and thus should be eaten in moderation.
INGREDIENTS (very slightly modified the original recipe by Giada):
- Rotini Whole Wheat Pasta – 1 pound
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
- Crushed Red Pepper – 1 tsp
- Garlic – 2 big cloves (finely chopped)
- Shallots – 2 small (finely chopped)
- Salt – to taste
- Black Pepper – 1/4 tsp
- Cremini Mushrooms – 10 ounce box (sliced)
- Shitake Mushrooms – 4 ounce box (sliced… 4 to 6 ounces will work)
- Pinot Grigio White Wine – 1 cup
- Mascarpone Cheese – 2/3 cup (or about 5.5 ounces) => original recipe suggests 8 ounces
- Reserved Pasta Water – 1/4 cup (more or less to thin out the sauce slightly)
- Parmesan Cheese – 1/2 cup (grated)
- Fresh Chives – 20 stems (finely chopped for garnish)
1. Start by boiling a pot of water for the pasta.
2. In the meantime, chop the garlic and shallots.
3. And then chop the assortment of mushrooms.
4. Heat a pan with extra virgin olive oil. Once hot, add crushed red pepper.
5. Once it sizzles, add garlic and shallots. Season with salt.
6. Cook for about 2 minutes until the shallots soften and turn slightly golden.
7. Add all the mushrooms, add salt and black pepper.
8. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms soften.
9. This is what you should have after 5 minutes.
10. Add a cup of white wine. Mix well and let the mushrooms cooks for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until the wine reduces. Increase the heat to dial 7 (medium to high heat).
11. Season the pasta water with salt and add the pasta. Cook until al dente.
12. In the meantime, chop the chives and grate some parmesan cheese.
13. Back to the mushrooms. I let the wine evaporate more than it should, you should have a little more liquid here. Decrease the heat to very low heat (dial 1). Add mascarpone cheese.
14. Stir and this is what you should have… a creamy mushroom sauce, so good! Check for seasonings, add salt or black pepper, IF NEED BE!
15. Once the pasta is al dente, add the pasta to the creamy mushroom sauce. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce slightly ~ a 1/4 cup should do.
16. Top with parmesan cheese. Mix well.
17. Garnish with chives and serve immediately. Tastes best HOT!
TELL ME: Mushrooms – love em’ or hate em’? If you hate em’, why? I’d love to know! Thoughts!