This is a variation on Marcella Hazan's Paglia e Fieno Alla Ghiotta from her "The Classic Italian Cookbook" (Knopf, 1980 edition). It's rich enough to serve at a dinner party yet easy enough to make in one pan, except for boiling the pasta.
If you're using freshly made pancetta, you'll need to add a teaspoon or two of olive oil in order to crisp it properly. It will have less fat than the packaged pancetta now carried in larger grocery stores.
- 3 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice (see headnote)
- 1/2 cup skinned hazelnuts, for garnish
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 1/2 cup boiling water
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 or 2 shallots, minced (2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup (about 8) baby bella/cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup white vermouth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 ounces fresh egg linguine
- 6 ounces fresh spinach linguine
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Place the pancetta in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat (make sure it is large enough to eventually hold all of the pasta). Once it starts to render some of its fat, increase the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes until crisped, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate. Discard the fat in the skillet.
Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the hazelnuts and cook for a few minutes, tossing them as needed, until they become fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board; when they have cooled slightly, coarsely chop them.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, drain the porcinis, reserving their liquid; mince them.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same skillet used for the pancetta and hazelnuts, over medium heat. Add the shallot and stir to coat, then cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are translucent but not browned, stirring as needed. Add the drained porcinis and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Add the baby bella/creminis and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then stir in the reserved porcini soaking liquid. Cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the skillet.
Add the vermouth; cook for about 8 minutes, until it has almost evaporated, stirring often, then add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring to form a creamy sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, so the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste and the nutmeg.
As the sauce is coming together, drop the pasta into the vigorously boiling water; first add the egg pasta, and then the spinach pasta, as the latter cooks more quickly. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until just underdone; it will finish cooking in the sauce.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, using tongs to toss and coat the pasta with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low. Return the pancetta to the skillet, along with the peas, if using. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes to warm everything through.
Divide among individual warmed plates. Garnish each portion with the parsley, hazelnuts and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve hot.
From Cathy Barrow, who blogs at MrsWheelbarrow.com.
Tested by Cathy Barrow.
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