My goodness I just cannot believe how in love with this everyone is. I've recently become very interested in The Cooking Channel (OK-its addictive) and caught this on the vegetarian episode of "Everyday Italian". I'm not a vegetarian but I have lots of friends who are so I love experimenting with dishes they can enjoy~~~and sometimes its just nice to skip the meat. After I made it for guests a few days ago, my husband starting dropping hints that he'd like to see it on our table again sooner rather than later. A mere 3 days later. I have to admit I wasn't unhappy to have an excuse to put away the chicken I was defrosting and get down to business with this bowl of gorgeous flavor.
This recipe moves really quickly once the heat is on. While the prep time is listed as just 10 minutes I find it takes me a lot longer to chop everything up, and unless you are practicing your knife skills full time I'd do all of the cutting before turning on the stove.
It really is just so simple, although I do have a couple of personal tricks I used for this. While rigatoni would be fine here, I used rotini for this as the little ridges hold the sauce better. This does not make a thick sauce so this is a change to consider. Next, it calls for a half cup of white wine. Instead of opening a bottle of nicer wine, I made a quick run to the store and picked up one of those mini wine juice-box-esque things for about $5. Removed what I needed for the recipe and then poured half cup portions into containers and popped them in the freezer. No more opening something you don't feel like drinking just to get a tiny bit out! I know I've read about wine ice cubes but measuring it out into half cup portions just seemed to make more sense for cooking.
Once I had everything chopped and measured it was time to cook. Shallots and garlic always smell amazing, but once the wine gets going with the mushrooms the fragrance itself is just irresistible.
At the stage where I had a few minutes while the wine and veggie stock reduced I took a little time to grate some extra parmesan cheese. Whenever I grate parm I use all 6 sides of the grater. By having amounts of the finest cheese all the way up to the larger hunks and chunks, the cheese has an opportunity to melt at different speeds. This really brings out the flavor as you eat, allowing some immediate melting and fragrance and also the occasional burst of earthiness from the larger chunks that have not finished melting completely.
While the pasta finished I threw together a salad using ingredients from our CSA share. If you've got the opportunity to join a CSA in your area I cannot recommend it enough. It is the most economical way to get locally grown (and frequently organic) produce, while supporting local agriculture. Our shares come from Full Circle CSA in Glenmoore, PA.
Then it was time to blend the pasta with the mushrooms and add the decadent mascarpone cheese. Mixed it all up in a giant serving dish and voila!---a beautiful, healthy vegetarian meal with plenty of interest and flavor! The full recipe can be found here. If you make this please let me know if you enjoyed it and what you may have done to make it even better--and feel free to message me with any comments or questions.