I know it’s supposed to be getting warmer--it’s already May! But here in NH, it’s been very cool and overcast (and a bit rainy) for the last couple of weeks. As per usual--plus, we need the rain. I’m not complaining! I like it when we have actual Spring-like weather when we’re supposed to. It’s no fun having a super hot Spring leading right into a hot summer. As a result of this cool, damp weather, I’m still craving comfort food.
This Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni is pure comfort food. It’s creamy, of course, but it’s also homey, stick to your ribs food. I’ve hardly ever met a pasta dish that I didn’t like. This one is no exception. It came about when I was talking to Billy about making Mushroom Bourguignon. He was wondering if the mushrooms would be good in some creamy sauce over pasta. I said “Hell yes, of course they would be!”
While talking to my good friend Shaye a while back, she mentioned that she was making the Bourguignon, and she wanted to eat all of the mushrooms after sautéing them with the cognac. In my version, I’d left out the Cognac, simply because I didn’t have any on hand. Since it was obviously so good, I decided I had to give it a go. (If you’d like to add the cognac to the Bourguignon, add it after you sauté the mushrooms for the 10 minutes, and let it simmer for a few minutes before removing them from the pan.) Shaye was right! It’s worth getting the cognac to add. In this recipe I’m giving you today, I see no reason why you couldn’t use white wine instead, and if you wish, leave out the alcohol entirely.
Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni
2 tbsp or so of olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely diced (about 3 tbsp)
20 oz sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
10 oz sliced white mushrooms
3 tbsp Cognac (use white wine if you wish, or leave the alcohol out entirely)
1/2 salt and 1/2 pepper
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme (if using fresh, use about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 cup chicken broth (or use vegetable broth and make it 100% vegetarian)
1 cup half and half
Small handful of fresh parsley
1 pound rigatoni (or your favorite pasta) cooked
Start the water for boiling the pasta.
In a large pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has mostly evaporated. If you find that the mushrooms are getting too dark too quickly, turn the pan down to medium heat.
Add the Cognac and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to the pan and sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms. Stir well to coat the mushrooms. Add the thyme. (If you're using fresh thyme, add it more towards the end, say when you add the half and half.)
When the pasta water is boiling, cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Deglaze the pan by adding the broth of your choice, and scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan with your spoon or spatula. Turn heat to low-ish and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the half and half, get it at a good bubbling simmer and let it go until thickened and somewhat reduced, about 10 minutes, stirring often. (It should be the consistency of a cream soup when it’s done.)
Stir in the parsley, and then add the cooked noodles to the pan and stir to coat. Spoon into bowls and serve. This is good with some fresh parm grated over the top, too.
- The quantities on the mushrooms aren’t set in stone, those are just the sizes of the containers at Trader Joe’s. Use what you’ve got, even a bit more or less, if necessary.
- Silly of me, but I can't remember if I used garlic in here or not. I'm guessing I did--I usually do. If you want to, add 3-4 minced cloves of garlic along with the shallots and mushrooms.