Pasta – it’s become the centerpiece of so many meals here at Chez Jordan since we stopped frequenting our former favorite trattoria a couple of years ago. We almost always ordered the same dishes there – fettuccine bolognese for me, and veal Milanese for my husband. We stopped when I decided to master my own bolognese (see blog post from 3/4/15), and also discovered that a home-cooked dinner of pork chops milanese (also posted on 3/4/15) were even better than the veal.
Since then, we’ll have a pasta dish at least weekly – pasta carbonara, scampi over linguini, orrechiette with rappi, and so many more. If it tastes good by itself, it should taste great over pasta, right?
Last night’s inspiration came from an 8-ounce box of Trader Joe’s crimini mushrooms that were just on the verge, and I couldn’t let them spoil before making the beef stew on my menu for this weekend. Turning to my new favorite food site – Cooking with the NY Times – I found Florence Fabricant’s simple recipe for Linguine with Mushrooms.
A good start, but I can never resist tinkering. That often involves adding shallots, which can elevate the flavor profile of just about anything other than ice cream. She also makes hers with olive oil, but I’ve been saving our bacon fat and using it the way my forebears used schmaltz. They lived long, mostly healthy lives, so I’ve learned not to fear my food. Also, borrowing from the bacon component of carbonara, this just seemed logical.
A confession about this photo. It’s a stock photo that looks exactly like what I served; my iPhone was charging and I didn’t want our dinners to lose any heat before jumping into this:
LINGUINI WITH MUSHROOMS
(adapted from Florence Fabricant’s recipe – 2 hearty dinner servings)
8 ounces good Italian linguini (such as DeCecco), cooked al dente and drained
4-5 Tbsp reserved bacon fat (or olive oil, if you prefer, but bacon fat makes it richer)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced thinly
1 very plump glove garlic and 1 small shallot minced together
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
S&P to taste
While your pasta is cooking, heat the bacon fat in a 12″ cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the mushrooms, stirring frequently until they’re nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Season with S&P, add the garlic, shallot and parsley, and remove from heat. Add the drained linguini to the skillet, tossing to combine everything, then toss again with the grated cheese. Plate and top with another sprinkle of cheese.