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This is a Rachael Ray recipe from the February 2011 issue of her magazine that my mother and I made for dinner this evening. We used a mushroom mix along with the portobellos, and it came out very savory and delicious, the kind of vegetarian food you can serve to die-hard carnivores without complaint. Nice and light for something with a creamy sauce, too. There’s a similar one on her site, but I think this slightly more complicated one from the print magazine is worth the effort. I’ve retyped it more or less true to the original.

Mushroom and Marsala Pappardelle

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
~3/4 cup dried mushrooms (such as porcini)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pappardelle or other wide, long-cut pasta (we used some Mrs Weiss egg noodles)
6 tbsp butter (recipe called for 4 but there are a ton of mushrooms so we added some more)
3/4 lb portobello (or cremini) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 bunch swiss chard (the recipe suggest kale as an alternative, but I don’t really like kale), stemmed and thinly chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
3/4 cups marsala wine
1 cup heavy cream
a few sprigs fresh sage (we toasted ours so we could crumble it into the dish)
grated parmesan

Place the stock and dried mushrooms in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the mushrooms are reconstituted. Remove them with a slotted spoon and chop, reserving the broth.

Boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water (we didn’t end up needing this, but it can’t hurt to save it until the end).

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the fresh mushrooms and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms darken (about 7 minutes).

Add the chard, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook another 7 minutes, then stir in the wine. Add the reconstituted mushrooms and most of the broth (leave out the last 1/4, which has the grit from the mushrooms in it, according to Rachael). Stir in the cream and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens (took about 10 minutes). Add some of the pasta water if it accidentally gets too thick.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, serve with parmesan and sage as garnish.

This recipe serves about four people if there’s a salad on the side, three if you’re all very hungry. I think in the future I’d add some sun-dried tomatoes (reconstituted with the mushrooms?) to it for a bit of sweetness, but I add sun-dried tomatoes to everything. This is one of the first pasta dishes I’ve had in ages that didn’t bore me, so I will definitely be making it again. Hopefully I’ll be doing plenty of cooking in the near future, as next week I get back to New York and start working on that cooking project I mentioned a few entries ago. I also still need to add the shepherd’s pie I made a month ago, so someone please hold me to that.

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