Homemade Pasta with Mushrooms, Leeks and Roasted Tomatoes

26 Jan

I almost didn’t write about this meal.  I am afraid that my words and pictures will not do it justice.  It looks and sounds so simple.  It started off as a meal put together because we didn’t want to go outside, in the cold, to pick up more ingredients for dinner.  This pasta was so delicious that in the future, I will go out in the cold, in the snow, in the rain, to get the ingredients required to make this dish.

The fresh pasta, I know you will understand, was heavenly.  But the sauce, oh the sauce!   There are certain ingredients that make me seem like a better cook than I am, ingredients that add subtle depth to a dish.  Shallots, lemon zest and juice, chicken stock are a few of those magical ingredients.  Leeks are another and leeks are the key to this sauce.  This sauce tastes like there are secrets stirred in; there are no secrets, not after this post at least, there are only leeks and butter and a little bacon.

First, the pasta.  We generally use Thomas Keller’s agnolotti recipe to make fresh pasta.  It has 6 egg yolks in it — that is what makes it so silky and sublime.  We tried to lighten it up a bit and the recipe that we used didn’t work. It wouldn’t come together, it refused to become dough.  I kept adding things until we ended up with something resembling pasta dough. I rolled it out using the pasta roller attachment and passed it through the fettuccine cutter.  Lesson learned, Thomas Keller knows best.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number One:  Always lay your freshly rolled sheets of pasta on wax paper dusted with flour.  I tried to only use the wax paper.  Martin kindly suggested that I add some flour to make my life a little easier, I demurred, and you know what happened?  I had to roll it all out again when the strands of freshly cut fettuccine ended up stuck together in a tangled mess.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number Two: Pasta dough freezes beautifully and de-frosts quickly.  We made the full recipe and froze half of it, rolling out and cutting the other half.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number Three:  Don’t over cook it!  Fresh pasta needs maybe three minutes in a pot of salted boiling water.  Just until it floats.  Err on the side of underdone; it will cook a little longer in the pan with the sauce.

Leek, Mushroom and Roasted Tomato Sauce

2 slices of bacon, diced

1 leek, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds and soaked in a bowl of cold water to clean

2 cloves of garlic, diced

6 mushrooms, I used Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 large handful of grape tomatoes

zest from 1 lemon

4 – 6 tablespoons of butter

Thyme

Olive Oil

Parmesan Cheese

Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375º.

Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in an oven safe pan or on a baking sheet until golden and wrinkly – about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large saucepan cook the bacon on low until crispy.  Remove the bacon and reserve for another use.  We added the bacon to a spinach and tomato salad with  Meyer lemon olive oil.  Delicious.

Add the leeks  and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan with the bacon fat.  Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium/low heat until the leeks are soft.  Add the garlic and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the mushrooms and cook slowly until the mushrooms are soft and golden.   Season with salt and pepper. When the tomatoes are done, add them to the pan with the mushrooms and leeks.  Add the lemon zest and another tablespoon of butter, toss to combine.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Turn off the heat until you are ready to add the pasta.

Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook your pasta until it floats, 3 minutes.  Transfer the pasta directly into the pan with the sauce.  Do not drain the pasta water!  Over medium/low heat, toss the pasta and sauce together.  Add the fresh thyme and another tablespoon of butter.  Add some of the water that the pasta was cooked in, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a fluid sauce, the pasta is evenly coated and moves around the pan easily.  I added about 4 tablespoons.  Add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese to the pan, toss to melt and combine.

Serve with more parmesan.  Enjoy!

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4 Responses to “Homemade Pasta with Mushrooms, Leeks and Roasted Tomatoes”

  1. Alex January 26, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    hey Shauna, do you use the greens of the leeks? I find so many recipes with leeks don’t and it seems like such a waste! Hugs!

    • heavycake January 26, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      I do. I just cook them slowly over low heat and for a long period of time so they end up very tender. Sometimes, I slice and sauté the whole leek and refrigerate it. Then I will add a spoonful or two of the cooked leeks to dishes or sauces throughout the week. They are also great on pizza or on toast with goat cheese. They can be expensive, so if I can stretch them out, using them in different things I feel like I get my moneys worth. xo

      • Alex January 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

        THANKS! 🙂

  2. CorkAndSpoon January 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I can totally relate to the first sentence of your post Shauna, too often, I’m halfway through some awesome kitchen creation that I wasn’t expecting or planning to make and I realize I’ve taken no notes or pictures. Too often, that causes me to not share certain kitchen adventures. I am thrilled you ignored your first thought of keeping this one hidden though- it looks great and has me craving roasted tomatoes. Mmmmmm.

    ~Emilie

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