creamy pasta, crispy mushrooms

I literally tripped over this Epicurious recipe recently while I was looking for something not even food related. I literally stopped in my tracks, because the picture accompanying it was very appetizing.

Tuesday evening I happened to have some excellent mushrooms in the apartment – and some heavy cream, which is somewhat more untypical. Both were critical for proceeding with the recipe, which I halved for the two of us.

The dish was even more satisfying than I’d expected. Also, as with most well-conceived pasta dishes, with good ingredients, it only got better the longer it sat on the table (or inside the pot, available for seconds). We tend to talk a lot during meals, and we eat very slowly, so we have a definite advantage there.


  • half of an 8-ounce bag of superb small-ish Piopini mushrooms from Gail’s Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, first separated from each other, tossed into a large antique tin-lined copper pot with one tablespoon of olive oil already heated over a medium-high flame, the fungi immediately sprinkled with sea salt, sautéed in a single layer, undisturbed, until their edges were brown and starting to crisp, or for about 2 minutes, then tossed and cooked further, stirring or tossing occasionally, until all sides were brown and crisp, or about 4 minutes more, then, using a slotted wooden spoon, transferred to a bowl, the other 4 ounces of mushrooms sautéed in the same manner, the process repeated with another tablespoon of oil, afterwards the heat reduced to medium-low and, with all of the mushrooms returned to the pot, one finely chopped medium shallot and one small astonishingly delicious chopped Grenada seasoning pepper added and cooked, stirring often, until the shallots were translucent and softened, or for little over a minute, then 8 ounces of really good artisanal Neapolitan spaghetti, boiled until not quite al dente and then drained, were added to the pot with a quarter cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid, the heat increased to medium-high and the mixture cooked, tossing constantly, until the liquids had thickened, at which time the pot was removed from the heat and some lemon zest and juice (each the product of less than half of one lemon), chopped parsley, several tablespoons of butter, about a third of a cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and lots of freshly ground black pepper were tossed in and combined with the mix, more salt added if needed, the finished pasta divided between bowls and topped with more Parmesan cheese
  • the wine was a wonderful Puglian red, Dominic Hentall Sangiovese Negroamaro IGT Puglia 2019, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Ernst Krenek’s 1923 Schauspiel, ‘Orpheus und Eurydike’, with a libretto by Oskar Kokoschka, a 1990 performance by the RSO Wien and the ORF-Chor, conducted by Pinchas Steinberg