Mushroom Straw and Hay Pasta
Mushrooms simmered in a sauce of thyme, garlic and marsala flavor pasta tossed with greens.
- A handful of dried mixed or porcini mushrooms (1/2 ounce)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound spinach tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 pound egg tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
- About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 large portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped or 3/4 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced or finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 1/2 pound farm spinach or black (Tuscan) kale, thinly sliced or shredded
- A little freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
- Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Place the dried mushrooms in a small saucepan and cover with about 1 1/2-2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reconstitute the mushrooms and flavor the water. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and finely chop. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the two pastas and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the portobellos (or criminis) and brown for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme for 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala and cook off the alcohol. Add the greens to wilt and season with nutmeg. Add the reconstituted mushrooms and 1 cup of their strained broth.
Add the butter to melt. Add the pasta and toss for 1 minute to combine the flavors, adding the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary. Season, to taste, and serve in bowls, topped with the cheese.