For Valentine’s Day dinner we’ll be feasting on tender egg fettuccini crowned with luxurious wild mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The last few years we’ve gone out to dinner at Farmshop, one of our favorite restaurants, but this year we decided to avoid the Saturday night, special-occasion crowds and the always-challenging Los Angeles traffic.
To create the carefree experience of a restaurant meal, I’ve settled on a recipe that takes only minutes to put together. I’ll shop on my way home Friday, and early in the day Saturday I’ll take 15 minutes to cut the vegetables and grate the cheese. Just before we sit down to eat, I’ll simply sauté the mushrooms and boil the pasta while Steve lights a romantic fire (we wouldn’t be sitting right in front of a fire in a restaurant) and opens the Champagne.
Grocery stores now carry many excellent gluten-free pastas, but for a fun project with your sweetie, I suggest making your own gluten-free egg fettuccini. It’s tender and flavorful, and keeps well too. I’ll teach you how in my new Gluten-Free Italian Classics Craftsy cooking class video; it just launched in January. Craftsy is having a Valentine’s Day sale right now. If you click here, you can get my class, and many others too, at a discount until February 16. Valentine gift?
One word on mushrooms: Wild mushrooms transform this pasta into a celebration meal. Richly flavored, woodsy chanterelles will make it extra-special, but easier-to-find shiitakes are also very good. You can use all wild mushrooms, however the dish will still be stellar made with half wild mushrooms and half button or criminis.
Tomorrow I’ll post a recipe for a beautiful dessert to serve after the pasta. It’s Steve’s favorite: meringue nests filled with Meyer lemon curd and berries. If you make your own fettuccini, be sure to save the leftover egg whites for the dessert.
Fettuccine with Wild Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ ounces pancetta, finely chopped
- 3 large shallots, sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or rosemary
- 8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, shiitake, and/or crimini, sliced
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¾ cup reduced salt chicken broth, preferably organic
- 6-7 ounces gluten-free fettuccine or linguini
- ½ cup 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until brown, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and thyme and sauté until the shallots begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until syrupy, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes for dried or 5 minutes for fresh.
- Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture. Stir over medium heat until coated. Mix in the cheese. If too dry, mix in the reserved cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the pasta between 2 warmed plates. Sprinkle with parsley and serve right away.