Friday, April 11, 2014

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Speck

Tonight I was in the mood for an appetizing and savory pasta. And the pappardelle with mushrooms and speck came to mind!
This is a very tasty primo piatto that combines the smoked, delicate flavor of the speck with the sweet, earthy aroma of the mushrooms. You could use other shapes of pasta, but definitely the wideness of the pappardelle makes this dish buonissimo!
I like the DeCecco egg pappardelle, shown in the picture below, because they are easy to find in grocery stores around here and they cook well without sticking together. Plus, this pasta cooks in only 6 minutes. Perfect! You know I like when dinner is ready quickly.
If you are not familiar with speck, it is a smoked prosciutto, native to Alto Adige, a region of Northern Italy. As you see in the picture below, it looks similar to a prosciutto, a little darker in color, and with a unique taste and delicate aroma. Speck is not as common here as in Italy. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can find it at Guidi Marcello, in Santa Monica. This store also sells porchetta, coppa, prosciutto cotto, in addition to the more common prosciutto, pancetta and mortadella. You will also find many other Italian goodies, check it out when you have the chance!
I added a link to the Amazon store, for both pappardelle and speck. Please note, I have never tried to buy speck from Amazon. Let me know if you do and what you think about it!
In the case you cannot find speck and don't want to try the one on Amazon,  you may substitute it with prosciutto or pancetta. The result will still be really good!
Here is what you will need:

Ingredients serving 4 people:

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • half onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 10 oz of fresh mushrooms, I like Trader Joe's pre-cleaned crimini mushrooms
  • 3.5 oz of speck
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian parsley, minced
  • Parmesan cheese, as much as you like :)
  • 1 package (8.8 oz) Egg Pappardelle
  • salt

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes

Step 1: Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water. Crush the garlic, by pressing it down with the flat blade of a large knife. Saute' the chopped onion with the crushed garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, for a  couple of minutes.

Step 2: Add the speck cut in strips. Saute' for one more minute.
Step 3: Cut the mushrooms in pieces and add to the skillet. Stir in most of the parsley - save some to sprinkle over the pasta at the end. Salt to taste and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low flame, until the mushrooms are tender. If the mushroom sauce gets too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the boiling water (from the pasta).  Start cooking the pappardelle.

Step 4: Drain the pasta, an add it to the skillet. Mix well, adding the remaining parsley and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately!

You won't believe how good this taste! ... you will have to try it :)

 Perfect for a romantic sunset dinner for two!