Pasta cooked like risotto

I do not know about you, but I have always cooked my pasta separately to my sauce, then combined at the end. It is the way I have always been taught and seen others do it. Conversely I cook rice in multiple ways, I either boil it separately, or when making risotto or paella, I cook the rice in with the other ingredients.

The general argument is that with pasta you are trying to get the starch out so it does not go gluggy. Generally you do this with rice, except for dishes such as risotto and paella where the starch helps create a creamy sauce. So I was most intrigued, when I came across this recipe for cooking pasta and using the risotto method to get a creamy sauce.

While it is spring in the northern hemisphere, it is autumn here so I could not make the above recipe of asparagus, pancetta and lemon. Instead, I made a mushroom pasta. The result was certainly better than when I have cooked the two separately, with the pasta slightly fragile, and the sauce flavoursome and creamy while delicate.

Mushroom Pasta by absorption

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for frying
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • 6 small shallots (or onions) finely sliced
  • 1 large glove of garlic finely sliced
  • A small bunch of fresh (or dried) thyme
  • A punnet of mushrooms diced– use any combination you want, button, portobello, wild etc
  • Pasta – I used an organic rye penne, though most of the smaller pasta shapes should work
  • Cup of wine
  • Cup of Stock – chicken, vegetable or just water
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Sweat the onions until they start to colour
  • Add the garlic and mushrooms and stir through, if the mixture starts to dry out, add some wine.
  • Toss the pasta through, coating all the grains
  • Add the stock and enough water to just about cover the pasta
  • Put a lid on and simmer away until you have halved the liquid
  • Add a little good quality extra virgin olive oil to help the creaminess
  • Wrap the pot up in a tea towel and leave to sit for 10 minutes – this should steam the pasta a bit to make it lighter, while leaving some liquid for the sauce
  • Season and serve with some cheese, Parmesan, feta or blue would all work well.
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