CLASSIC pasta fettuccine, mushrooms and lemon








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On the night before a planned large dinner for New Year's eve, we wanted a light, but festive, pasta dish, with some different flavors than the usual repertoire. Home-made fettuccine said "festive" and the mushroom, sage and lemon sauce said (and was) flavorful.

for the sauce:

  • six ounces of mushrooms, shitake or crimini preferred
  • one ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
  • two tablespoons of roughly chopped fresh sage (and save a couple of leaves)
  • six cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • one lemon
  • eight tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • one cup heavy cream
  • one half cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

for the pasta:

note: this might seem like a lot of garlic, and you can reduce it of course if you wish, but we found that the garlic gave this dish a special emphasis that was a delight.

Soak the dried porcini in a cup of medium hot water for fifteen minutes. Take out the porcini (do not throw away the liquid) and squeeze the porcini dry on a paper towel. Then roughly chop them.

Chop off the stems of the fresh mushrooms and chop the mushrooms roughly in strips about one-quarter inch wide. Grate the peel of the lemon for zest, with your handy lemon zester, and then squeeze the juice of the lemon into a cup and hold.

Melt six tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the garlic for ten seconds. Add the sage and the red pepper flakes. Add the fresh mushrooms and sauté for two minutes. Add the chopped porcini. Add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved porcini liquid. Add a half teaspoon of salt and several grinds of the pepper mill. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about three minutes. If the pan is getting dry, add more of the reserved porcini liquid.

Add the lemon juice, the zest and the cream. Sauté for about a minute over medium high heat to reduce the sauce slightly. Set aside.

Get five quarts of water up to a raging boil.  Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the fettuccine. Cook until al dente. Then drain well.

Add the fettuccine to the heated sauce. Add two tablespoons of butter. Stir thoroughly so that every strand of the pasta is well coated. Add the parmesan and stir some more. Taste for salt and pepper.

We cover the pan and heat over a medium high heat for a minute, to get the pasta steaming hot. Serve in heated bowls immediately. Take a few sprigs of the fresh sage and add for decoration.


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