About two pals named Sarah, and food fun with fungi
I have two friends named Sarah. One lives here in the Saratoga Springs area, and I have known and worked with her for a few years. One lives in Wisconsin, and I have never actually met her. This is a quick ramble about the Sarahs, followed by the Bon Appétit pasta recipe that links the two.
Saratoga Sarah is a kickass chick. She is the numbers-cruncher/resident “mom”/kid sister/do-anything/takes-no-shit business manager for the best builder in town, and a real estate agent in her spare time. She is quick-witted, sharp-tongued, and wise beyond her years. And she’s a great bowler. She came over for dinner on Wednesday, and enjoyed this new recipe with me.
Wisconsin Sarah is someone I bumped into in Bloglandia, back in January when I first launched into this thing. I found her on Freshly Pressed, when her recipe for (nay, her beautiful photos of) pistachio sticky buns caught my eye. I clicked, and found Sarah’s Place, and the multi-talented hostess herself, a Midwestern gal from our leading cheese-producing state and the land of Richie Cunningham (i.e., my mecca). She’s an incredible professional photographer, an amazing cook, a self-taught knitter, a fan of Tina Fey, a mother to kids with fur and four feet, a lover of old movies and maps. And she’s the nicest, most supportive person I have never actually met. A few months ago, she randomly awarded subscriptions for Bon Appétit to a few of her web friends. I was a lucky winner. More so for having met Sarah, but the gift subscription was a great bonus.
This week, I tried a recipe from the April Bon Appétit, Penne with Pancetta, Sage, and Mushrooms, and it did not disappoint. So, a gift from one beloved Sarah, enjoyed by me with the other. For their friendship, humor, and shared love of food, I thank them both!
Penne with Pancetta, Sage, and MushroomsFrom a recipe published online and in April 2012 Bon Appétit
Bring 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth and 1 cup dry red wine to boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. (What’s the trick with this? I had to keep pouring the reduction out of the pan and into my liquid measure, then back again, since I can’t successfully eyeball saucepan contents being reduced.)
Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large deep skillet/saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 12 oz. assorted fresh mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini, shiitake), cut into large pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a plate.
Add 8 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), coarsely chopped, to same saucepan. I am a fan of cooking/prep shortcuts, so just bought two packages of this brand of diced pancetta:
Saute pancetta until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
Drain pancetta with slotted spoon and discard drippings. Return to saucepan, and add wine reduction, 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (cubed), 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, and 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary.
Simmer until liquid thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook 1 lb. penne rigate (I used whole wheat, which, for reasons unknown, is packaged as 13.25 oz.) in a large pot of boiling salted water, until almost tender but still firm to the bite (isn’t that what al dente means?). Drain pasta, then stir into mushroom mixture with 1 c. finely grated Parmesan. Heat through, coating pasta thoroughly. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan.