Recipe: Pasta with Creamy Mushroom-Pea Sauce

I’m always on the look-out for a new recipe to try or even a new twist on something I already make…. So a-hunting I go.

I found this recipe on the Food Network website… they credit it to…. how’s that for getting the recipe second hand…. but when you really think about it… almost every recipe is second hand. I create many, many recipes… I even revamp recipes I created … but let’s face it… we try most things after we’ve either read something that triggers an idea… or we’ve experienced it in a restaurant and want to make it at home. This recipe is similar to many you can find out there, but I can vouch for this one… it’s delicious!

The original recipe calls for wild mushrooms called chanterelles… I certainly can’t find them here where I live in Georgia (relatively small town) or around my home in upstate New York (fairly large metro and suburban area)… so there’s a fair chance you won’t find them either… the recipe is excellent with cremini mushrooms (those white ones you see in the supermarket).

Additionally, the original recipe calls for 3 cups of English Peas (you most likely would have to shell them)… they too are difficult to find. I have used English Peas in recipes before… I actually found them in a supermarket in upstate New York… they were already shelled… but they were expensive… I use frozen peas for this recipe… In my opinion… frozen peas are less work, less expensive and the taste is about the same… The time I used English Peas.. my guests couldn’t tell they weren’t the ordinary garden variety pea.

The recipe calls for whole-wheat pasta…(the recipe originated with Eating Well..what did you expect?) I like whole wheat pasta… I found out …unfortunately… through serving it… not everybody is crazy about it… so now I use regular pasta.

For variety… you can toss cooked chicken breasts cut into strips in the pasta before adding the sauce. I would double the sauce to be sure the mixture is creamy (this is how I make it).

One more thing... 3 cups of peas to a 1/2 pound of pasta is, in my opinion, a little too much... I think about 2 cups should be plenty... I really like peas.. not everyone does... eating around them could be a nuisance so keep that in mind... if using frozen peas... add them slowly when tossing them in... and use your judgment.

This recipe lends itself well to being an entrée candidate (like that?) for your list of things to serve to guests. If the other items on your food list for a party are not that time consuming just prior to the party, this will work well… if you prep some things ahead. Definitely make the pasta ahead and chop everything ahead that needs chopping … or you could make most of the sauce ahead.

I would recommend that you make the sauce up to the very last step where you add the cream and the pepper. Up to that point it’s basically a brothy mixture. You can quickly and easily re-heat that mixture and then remove from the heat and add your cream.… then toss with the pasta.. and presto!... you have a wonderful pasta dish your guests will love.

Bon Appetite!

Pasta With Creamy Mushroom-Pea Sauce

All you need:

8 oz. whole-wheat (rotini or fusilli)
3 cups shelled English Peas (4 ½ pounds unshelled) or frozen peas
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. sliced prosciutto, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (about 6 ounces) cremini or chanterelle mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ whipping cream
Freshly ground pepper to taste

All you have to do:

Cook pasta according to package directions (boil 10-12 minutes). If you are using the shelled English Peas.. you would cook them with the pasta. Drain and set aside.
If you are using frozen peas… cook according to package directions (I use the microwave). Do not overcook… they need to be cooked but still somewhat firm. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the prosciutto, stirring, until it begins to brown (about 5 minutes).

Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 4 minutes).

Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms, stir to coat.

Add the wine and let simmer about 1 minute.

Add the broth, return to a simmer and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 3 minutes).

Remove from the heat.

Stir in cream and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Add the pasta back into the pot and, if you used frozen peas, add the peas and toss.

If you want to add cooked chicken (see my write-up above for variety tips)… add it now to the pasta and toss.

Add the mushroom sauce and toss to coat.

Pour into a bowl and serve.

Makes 4 very generous servings…. I would say closer to 6 servings.

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