Friday, December 3, 2010

Snowy Paris Pasta

Since it's freezing cold and been snowing off and on here in Paris, I decided to make a warming wintertime dish. I also had leftover fresh vegetables from a recent market run - since my eyes are bigger than the pots in my kitchen, I always tend to buy more than I need at the market. The previous dish was a mushroom risotto (inspired by reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, though I did not forage the mushrooms myself!), which was delicious, and I worried I wouldn't be able to use the rest of the mushrooms to such an advantage. But in the end, I was very happy with the results! Between the nutmeg and the mushrooms, it has a a very earthy flavor.


1 small handfull of cappellini pasta (which it took me trips to four different grocery stores to find here!)
2 tbl olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 lb fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
1 tsp nutmeg
1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used chantarelles and mushrooms de Paris - which look like the standard US grocery store ones but darker. I suspect any type of mushroom would be fine!)
1 package lardons/a few pieces of proscuitto, sliced (but this recipe could easily do without the meat)
2 tbl fresh chives (or 1 tsp if using dry)
2 tbl freshly grated parmasean cheese
1 cup crême fraîche (toughie on translating to US - I would use a bit of sour cream mixed with regular creme)

Heat water for pasta until boiling.
Chop mushrooms.

In a pan, sauté shallots until tender. Add fresh spinach. Once cooked down, add nutmeg, mushrooms, and meat (if desired). If you have less time and don't mind the extra pans, you can sauté the mushrooms in a separate pan. The pasta will only need about three minutes in the boiling water, so add towards the end of the vegetables' cooking. At the same time, add the chives to the vegetables and heat through. Turn off heat, and spoon crême fraîche into the spinach-mushroom mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with freshly grated Parmasan cheese. Serves 3-4. Enjoy!