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Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
You can use any combination of fresh mushrooms that you prefer to make this delicious mushroom sauce. The key component of the sauce is the mushroom broth, so don't skip this step. The broth adds a concentrated mushroom flavor to the creamy pasta sauce.
We recommend pairing the mushroom sauce with tagliolini all' uvo, which is a long, thin egg pasta. Tagliolini is similar to the tajarin pasta from the Piedmont region of Italy. This type of pasta works best with thin, creamy sauces. If fresh egg pasta is not available substitute a good-quality ribbon-shaped dry pasta.
12 ounces assorted mushrooms (baby portabellos, cremini, button) 3 cups chicken broth 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme Salt and pepper 1 cup heavy cream 12-14 ounces tagliolini or similar pasta Grated Parmesan cheese
To make the mushroom broth: Remove the stems from the mushrooms; coarsely chop them. Dice the mushroom caps into bite-size pieces. Set them aside for later. Put the chopped stems in a saucepan with the chicken broth; bring to a simmer. Cook the broth until reduced by half, about 20-25 minutes. Strain the broth into a measuring cup; discard the chopped stems. You should have 1-1/2 cups of mushroom broth; set it aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes, just until the onion begins to brown. Add the diced mushroom caps and thyme. Saute until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushroom broth; simmer for 4-5 minutes until it begins to reduce. Add the cream and cook another 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken. Use tongs to remove the sprigs of thyme; discard.
Cook the tagliolini until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the skillet; gently toss to coat. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or divide into individual portions. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Sauteing onions until soft, 5 to 10 minutes, is the first step in many recipes. The reason is that softened onions add body and sweetness. Browning onions, 10 to 15 minutes, gives the onions a deeper flavor that makes them great with sauteed greens or in a savory tart. Lowering the heat and cooking the onions for 30 minutes or more will caramelize them. Longer cooking brings out the onion's sweet side. Caramelized onions are nice on pizza or in pasta.