The folks at Lagostina contacted me a while ago to see if I’d be interested in taking part in National Pasta Day, October 17th. They were kind enough to gift me with a gorgeous pasta pot to use to create a unique and tasty pasta dish for this celebration. I recently returned to North America after spending our usual six months in Umbria and decided to create an Umbrian inspired pasta dish for fall.
In the fall in central Italy, we have the most incredible selection of mushrooms available, so I used a blend of mushrooms such as portabello, cremini, and shitake. For this dish, I also wanted to use my favorite farro pasta from Umbria, called ciriole, but any long dried pasta would do, such as spaghetti or linguine, including whole grain options. Farro pasta has a slightly nutty flavor which I knew would pair well with the mushrooms.
I added in some sausage, because Umbria is famous for its pork products, and mushrooms and sausage go so well together. I tossed the sausage and mushrooms together in a creamy thyme sauce to meld the flavors. I also like texture in my food, so I added some chopped roasted and shelled chestnuts on top just before serving for a unique twist, and to add another fall ingredient. If you prefer, you could skip the addition of chestnuts, or you could try some lightly toasted skinned, chopped hazelnuts instead. The addition of cheese is frowned upon in any mushroom based pasta dish, but I don’t mind breaking the rules, and I sprinkled on some freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Gorgeous Lagostina Pasta Pot
Deborah Mele 2016
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Pound Mild Italian Sausage Links, Casings Removed
- 1 Pound Mixed Mushroom Blend, Wiped Clean (See Notes Above)
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 3/4 Pound Farro or Whole Grain Pasta (See Notes Above)
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Roasted & Shelled Chestnuts
- Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Heat a large pasta pot with lightly salted water to a boil.
- While the water is heating, in a large skillet, heat the oil until lightly smoking over medium heat.
- Break up the sausage meat into the skillet, and cook until no longer pink, about 7 to 8 minutes, breaking up the meat with a fork as it cooks.
- Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetablees have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cream, thyme, salt and pepper, and increase the heat to bring the cream to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Keep the sauce warm.
- Cook the pasta until it is “al dente”.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a small cup of the pasta water.
- Add the pasta back to the pan along with the sauce.
- Toss the pasta to coat with the sauce, and add a spoonful or two of the pasta water if the sauce seems too thick.
- Divide the pasta into four individual serving bowls, and sprinkle with the chopped chestnuts if using.
- Serve, passing the grated Pecorino Romano cheese at the table for those who want it.