This fragrant, vegetarian-friendly dinner is hearty enough for even the biggest meat eater to enjoy.
- 2 large mild red peppers (such as field peppers, red frying peppers or bell peppers – look for peppers that are long and almost rectangular in shape rather than round, small Holland peppers)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed (1/3 palmful)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 1/2 pounds crimini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick or 8 portobello mushroom caps, gilled and halved, then sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 medium to large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 rounded tablespoons good-quality sweet paprika (2 palmfuls)
- 1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika (a palmful)
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
- 1 pound extra-wide egg noodles or egg tagliatelle
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup combined parsley, dill and chives, chopped
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche
Char the peppers over an open flame or under a hot broiler and blacken skins evenly all over. Place in a bowl; cover and cool to handle. Peel the skins and seed the peppers, then quarter them lengthwise and slice 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.
Heat deep skillet or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with 3 tablespoons olive oil, three turns of the pan. Add caraway and cumin, and stir 30 seconds; add mushrooms and brown until very tender and beefy in aroma. Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs and paprika and cook, partially covered, for 6-7 minutes more to soften the onion, stirring frequently. Add the sherry to deglaze the pan, then the stock and tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until ready to serve.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the egg noodles. When the water boils rapidly, add the salt and noodles or pasta and cook to al dente. Reserve 1/3-1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining. Drain the noodles or pasta and return to the pot. Toss the noodles or pasta with pasta water, butter, herbs, salt and pepper.
Stir the crème fraiche into the paprikash and remove from heat. Serve the paprikash over a bed of herb egg noodles or pasta.