Rigatoni Funghi e Piselli, a pasta well worth some attention. A dish cooked al dente with organic produce such as peas and mushrooms with a base of caramelized onions and garlic, giving this recipe wonderful flavor and texture!
Rigatoni Funghi e Piselli is a dish that I would enjoy any day of the week. Not only is it a quick and easy recipe to make, but it has such distinct flavors and diverse texture, that makes it visually beautiful and most enjoyable to eat.
I love the hustle and bustle of a farmers market. People passionate about food and organics. They join together during the week to support local growers creating great nutritional clean produce that will entice wonderful recipes to be developed and enjoyed. That being said Nicoletta and I are two of those that join that group every week usually on Saturdays and not always at the same market as we like to support many that we like, and also during the summer it is beautiful to be outside enjoying the wonderful sun and warm temperatures. There has to be compassion for this, as our winter -more so my winter as Nicoletta is usually in Italy for the winter- is long, dark, and cold.
I am a hands on type produce shopper. I like to feel the produce, smell it. It is part of my intuitive produce shopping experience. It usually works well and we are blessed with rich flavors, perfect in ripeness in fruit and vegetables. The peas and mushrooms we bought from the downtown 104th street market were just that. Peas sweet firm and so packed with that flavor. The mushrooms pungent and aromatic, silky yet firm texture, and that earthy backdrop just enough to remind us of the ground that blessed us with this edible fungus. I know a few people don’t really like mushrooms and to them I apologize for my passion for them. I am a sucker for any dish with mushrooms. Pizza, crostini, fettuccine, risotto, polenta; stuffed, sauteed, side dish for a juicy tender steak, or like this recipe infusing its flavors into the rigatoni with the peas, onion and garlic base.
My dad was a great mushroom finder. I remember my parents going out to find mushrooms, my father with a radar for edible mushrooms and poisonous ones that he said you should not even touch. We would always come home with a pail full of those delicious morsels of earthy goodness. I couldn’t wait for my dad to clean them and get that olive oil and garlic going in a pan. The mushrooms thrown in and a bit of white wine and thyme. I would be the first in line to get a taste, well, second, as my father was cooking and tasting. Did I tell you my father did a lot of the cooking in our house. This was a strange phenomenon, as in most of the Italians families fathers knew very little of cooking, mostly wine making, and cured meats. I always laugh at my god mother. She always says my god father can’t even boil water. I don’t know about that, I am always an optimist and believe in people’s abilities. I guess I inherited my father’s passion for cooking along with having to prepare things very young, as both my parents worked. Not a bad thing in my eyes. I actually find it to be a blessing.
Back to the recipe. So we have some wonderful mushrooms from Mona foods. Crimini, shiitake, oyster, enochi, and chanterel. My mouth is already salivating. A bit of onion, and a clove of garlic to infuse in that wonderful Italian gold, EVCPOOO, (extra virgin, cold pressed, organic olive oil). Of course we need a good pasta, here we used Rummo which we love. It has a wonderful texture to it, with that coarseness that is a wonderful place to house the flavors of the vegetables and oil. Some good parsley to garnish the pasta and give it some fresh color.
Rigatoni Funghi e Piselli. The Process!
This recipe is so easy. All you need is a saute pan and a pot for the pasta to cook in. Nicoletta and I created this recipe together. Well, she mostly, as she knows these pasta recipes well, and is passionate about traditions in pasta development. Nicoletta cleaned the mushrooms washed and dried ready for sauteing. The peas she shucked, and with the leftover peas that we won’t be using she put in a well sealed Tupperware and into the freezer. We will use them soon as things in our freezer don’t go past a few weeks. I don’t like when food gets that freezer taste to it or develops that ice. Oil heating up in the saute pan, in goes the onions, garlic and peperoncino. Those cook till the onions are soft and translucent. In go the peas, fresh or frozen, and then the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, ad a couple of tablespoon of water into the pan with the peas and mushrooms, and let cook about 10 minutes on the timer. If you want to add cream, that is the time to do it. Let it reduce a bit and infuse in the vegetables. And that stage is done. Take off heat and set aside. In a medium pot bring a good amount of salted water to a boil. I say that there should be a good amount of water because then the pasta will cook evenly as its being tossed in the boiling water. Look on the package for cooking time and when that has been achieved take pasta off stove top and drain. Reserve some of the pasta water. This we may need if the pasta gets too dry while being mixed with the mushroom/pea mixture. Throw pasta into saute pan with the mushrooms and peas, turn heat to a medium setting and toss well. Add some of the pasta water or pour in a bit more of the cream, if needed, and just heat till pasta is nice and warm and creamy. We do not want to overcook the pasta. At the end chop up some fresh parsley and sprinkle over top and serve.
You can regulate the amount of cream to your liking. I know some like it rich and creamy as others like more the simple flavors of the vegetables and pasta. You can even drizzle some olive oil. If you want, also some grated parmigiano can be used. We opted for just a drop of cream and not to use parmigiano, as we wanted to really taste the ingredients in this dish.
The flavors are wonderful. The rigatoni with that nice slight nutty crunch. The ridges absorbing the cream infused with the sweetness of the caramelized onion, the acidity of the garlic, the earthiness of the mushrooms in all its glory, and those peas, oh those peas, like candy for a child and that olive oil, pure gold, not forgetting fresh hits of pepperiness from the parsley and that touch of heat from the peperoncino. Each flavor taking its step forth presenting taste and texture, well balanced in a harmonious plate of Rigatoni Funghi e Piselli.
Song of the day: ” Indaco Dagli Occhi del Cielo.” by Zucchero. He is one of my favorite artist from Italy, with a bluesy raspy sound.
- 200 g peas, fresh or frozen
- 200 g mixed mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic, whole
- 1 small onion, chopped
- pinch of chili flakes
- 1/4 cup cream (more, less, or none)
- salt and pepper to taste
- few parsley leaves
- 350 g rigatoni pasta
- a sprinkle of parmigiano (optional)
- In a pan on the stove over medium heat put 2 tablespoons of e.v.o. oil, the chopped onion, the garlic whole and pinch of chili flakes.
- Add the peas (fresh or frozen), saute for a couple minutes, then add the mixed mushrooms.
- Cook for a few minutes, add salt and pepper, then add 2-3 tablespoons water and cook for 7-8 minutes with a lid. Then let the water evaporate removing the lid, add the cream and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Set aside the peas with mushrooms.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water.
- At the recommended cooking time, drain the pasta leaving some of the cooking water.
- Add the pasta to the pan with the mushrooms and peas, and if too dry, add a little of the cooking water (or a bit more cream).
- Serve warm, with or without a sprinkle of parmigiano (we went without).
If you omit the splash of cream, it is a delicious vegan dish.
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