Spring Pasta, Risotto Style


Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Since it's Spring (!!) I decided that a lemon pasta would be great. I added these cremini mushrooms, lemon zest, lemon juice and halved a few heirloom cherry tomatoes.  I've made this dish a lot with various ingredients, but this combination is by far my favorite

Yields 2 servings

4 tablespoons of olive oil, and more as needed
1 shallot (or small onion), chopped
1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1/2 pound cut pasta like penne gemelli, or long pasta broken into bits
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (or add to taste)
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken stock)
1/2 cup of dry white wine or water (I used water)
1 lemon
zest of half of a lemon
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped fresh parsley
Freshly grated parmesan

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add shallot, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften and begin to brown on edges, about 10 minutes. Add remaining olive oil and then add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then wine (or water). Stir and let liquid bubble away.  Note: if you're using a chicken stock that is high in salt, then I'd add the salt toward the end.

Ladle stock into skillet 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When liquid is just about evaporated, add more. Mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep heat at medium and stir frequently.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice.

Begin tasting pasta 10 minutes after you add it; you want it to be tender but with a tiny bit of crunch. When pasta is about 2 to 3 minutes away from being done, add tomatoes and stir to combine.  Taste, adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and Parmesan if using, and serve.