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Author Notes: It's been a cold and rainy spring in New York City. And it seems I always end up making pasta with mushrooms when it's raining.
When I was a child in Calcutta, looking discontentedly out of our windows at the relentless monsoon rains spoiling my play time, my mother would tell me not to be sad, because the rains would bring up flowers, and new leaves, and mushrooms. I was fascinated with the Bengali term for mushroom - Bang'er chata. The words, literally translated, mean "a frog's umbrella." When the rains let up for a bit, I'd go searching for mushrooms and peak beneath them for frogs.
May be that 's why, even as an adult, I think of mushrooms whenever it's raining. This is a pasta dinner for a rainy spring evening that comes together fairly easily and is versatile. You can switch out another spring vege for the mushrooms, such as asparagus or leave out the prosciutto to make it vegetarian. I've even made it without tomatoes. Any way you decide to make it, you will go to bed satisfied, dreaming of frog princes. —GSmodden
button mushrooms sliced
garlic cloves minced
crushed red pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon
pound thick spaghetti
- Cook the spaghetti al dente according to package instructions.
- While that's happening, in a pan with heated olive oil fry up the prosciutto bits until slightly crisp. Set aside. In the same pan, add more oil if necessary, and fry up the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until caramelized. Add oregano and crushed red pepper, and let the flavors meld.
- Add in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Lower the heat, letting the mixture gently bubble away and allowing the tomatoes to break down slightly.
- Add in lemon juice and half of the chopped parsley. Put the prosciutto back into the mixture. Let it go for a minute or two. Make sure the sauce doesn't dry out. You can add stock or a bit of water if it does dry out.
- Keep an eye on the pasta so you don't overcook it. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Top with cheese, parsley, and salt/pepper if needed.