Thursday, March 19, 2009

pasta for the time-pressed snob

to accompany the sweet potato fries, course.

you can seriously put this together in 20 minutes, and it tastes pretty sophisticated for a simple pasta dish. it's not very healthy, i admit. but it is delicious. occasionally one just finds oneself with a bit of leftover half-and-half in the fridge, and, well, what to do?

chopped shallots or sweet onion (don't use a pungent yellow onion here)
sliced mushrooms (i like cremini, but white ones would do)
lots of chopped thyme (absolutely essential!)
torn greens (i used beet greens, but chard or spinach would do—just don't use anything too bitter, like kale)
pasta, such as farfalle (make sure it is an elegant wagon wheels please! and, er, no boobs either)*
butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper
half-and-half (or crème fraîche or even heavy cream)

heat water for the pasta. as soon as it's boiling, add the pasta—the sauce will take less than ten minutes to make. respect the pasta: don't overcook it.

meanwhile, heat a little butter and olive oil, and sauté the shallots or sweet onion with a small pinch of salt until they are soft and starting to brown at the edges. add the sliced mushrooms and sauté with another small pinch of salt and a grind of pepper until they are...i don't know how to describe it, but until they look cooked. it will take only a couple of minutes. add the thyme. add a handful of greens and cook over medium heat, turning frequently, for a few minutes more, until they're wilted. finally, add a splash of half-and-half and simmer over low heat for another minute or two. adjust the salt, combine with some pasta, and serve with another small grind of pepper on top.


(n.b.: you don't need much cream, because you can always make it moister by adding a bit of pasta water to the final dish. the cream is just for taste. also, i haven't done this, but it seems like a small splash of white wine might be nice after you've sautéed the mushrooms—just let most of it evaporate.)

*update: soon after posting this, i spotted farfalle jewelry at the moma store. yes, really. my pasta shape instincts are spot on!

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