I am reminded every time I make this for dinner, how much we all love it, and wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s easy and so creamy and full of flavor that it’s really just glamorous comfort food when you get right down to it. Actually, it’s so easy to keep the ingredients on hand, that there’s no reason for it not to become a good ol’ pantry special–you know, one of those things to make when you haven’t planned anything and it’s suddenly dinnertime and your beloved family clearly expect that it’s going to magically materialize.
Actually, at times like this, when you hear the crunch on the driveway that signals your brood is home and you’ve been lazing about the hacienda doing lots of stuff that doesn’t include making dinner, my first advice is to lay the table. That way, you can stall for time while you figure out what in the world you’re going to do, and it lulls them into a false sense of security that you’ve got it together.
The next thing to do, is start sauteing a chopped onion. This is good for two reasons. First, it makes the house smell like something really good is going on and they’ll be REALLY convinced you’ve got it together. Second, by this time, you’ll have the underpinnings for all sorts of things to have for dinner, and just maybe you’ll have decided to make this hay and straw pasta, just like I did earlier this evening . If that’s the case, take a deep sigh of relief and know that you’ve effectively done the most demanding part.
By the time you get the pasta water to boil, you’re golden and they’ll be eating and piling on the compliments before you even have time to realize what a close call you’ve just survived. And really, after dinner when everyone’s sated and happy and the dishes are all done, isn’t it kind of fun thinking about how close to the edge you were skating ?
Hay and Straw Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces prosciutto, julienned
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
12 ounces multicolored vegetable fettucine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and additional for serving
Bring large pot of salted water to boil for pasta.
Put olive oil in a large saute pan and turn heat to medium. Add onions and saute until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add prosciutto and continue stirring for one more minute. Add cream and bring to a low simmer, thickening slightly, about two minutes. Add frozen peas and salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
While you’re doing the above, cook the pasta according to directions, until it is slightly undercooked or al dente. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce, stirring constantly until combined.
Add parmesan cheese and stir gently to combine.
Serve with additional parmesan and ground pepper