Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pasta with tomatoes and mushrooms

This is an easy mid-week pasta, good for vegetarians or if you're trying to cut down on meat.

You can use any short pasta shape. My favourite is mezze penne (literally half penne); they're the same thickness as regular penne but about half the length. I just love them because they seem to work with all kinds of sauces and they make perfect little mouthfuls. The only problem is that we cannot find them in the UK (or at least not round here) so we come back from trips to Italy with our luggage and pockets stuffed with packets of De Cecco mezze penne, along with huge hunks of parmesan, coffee and slabs of prosciutto.


Serves 3-4

350g pasta
250g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
half an onion or one shallot, very finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
a pinch of chilli flakes, optional
extra virgin olive oil

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water.

While the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have lost their liquid and become golden brown.

At the same time, in a separate frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onion gently until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and chilli if using. Season to taste and continue cooking for about 5 mins.

Add the mushrooms to the tomato sauce and mix thoroughly.

When the pasta is al dente, drain well and tip into the tomato and mushroom sauce. Mix everything together and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grating of fresh parmesan.

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