Recipe: Fettuccine with Escarole and Wild Mushrooms
- 1 medium head of escarole, any wilted outer leaves discarded, well washed and dried, and chopped into 1- or 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound fettuccine
- About 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- About 8 ounces domestic or wild mushrooms (a mix is nice), wiped clean, stemmed, and sliced or broken into bite size pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. When the olive oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Take the pan off the heat and cook the garlic in the hot oil, stirring or swirling it to prevent scorching, until the garlic is very fragrant and has just started to take on some color. Return the pan to the heat, add the mushrooms, season with ample salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release most of their liquid. This takes about 4 minutes. Add the chopped escarole and cook, stirring, until wilted. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the escarole and the mushrooms, then return the heat to medium-high, and toss everything together well. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the escarole can use a good amount of salt to bring out its flavor. The pasta sauce should seem a bit creamy from the starch released by the pasta; if too dry, add a bit more of the cooking liquid. Divide the pasta among four warm bowls and sprinkle each with some parsley and cheese.
Makes 4 servings