Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gemelli with Mushrooms and Tomato

Pasta Harvest
Janet Fletcher
Chronicle Books (1995)
ISBN 0811805670

This book has been hanging around for a while, and I can't remember what provoked me to buy it. I have another book by Fletcher, but don't recall that I've used it much either, and I don't remember which I got first. The premise of this book is promising, pasta dishes using veggies fresh from your garden. But for some reason it's stayed out of the day-to-day loop of cookbooks that are in active use. I'm thinking now that's situation needs to be remedied. (There is a problem with this book: does it get shelved with pasta books or does it get shelved with vegetable books? Hard call. These sections don't sit next to each other either.)

In the headnote for this recipe, Fletcher mentions that there are two kinds of gemelli available, those with an S-shaped profile and those that look like two spaghetti strands twisted together. This is the first time I've seen anyone else remark on this difference, which has always bothered me. Two shapes with one name. DeCecco's cascareccia, which is S-shapped gemelli by another name, has become one of my favorite pasta shapes since I discovered it. It really holds a sauce well. I don't think the double-stranded version works quite as well.

There was a box of mushrooms lurking in the fridge wanting to be used and lots of tomato sauce from last year's harvest waiting in the freezer, so this looked like the perfect recipe to be tried soon. You start by sautéing pancetta, rosemary, and lots of garlic in some olive oil. When the pancetta is getting crisp, add strained canned tomatoes. (Many of the recipes in this book have you straining canned tomatoes to get the seeds out. Since my DH seems to be allergic to the seeds, I removed the seeds before I froze up lots of tomato sauce this summer.)

In another skillet sauté mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper until all the liquid has evaporated. Then add the tomato sauce, or vice versa, and stir in some chopped parsley.

Cook the pasta, add the sauce, stir in some grated Parmesan, and thin with a bit of pasta water if needed. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan. Enjoy!


Any kind of mushroom could be used with this. Shiitakes, some kind of wild mushroom, or a mix of cultivated and wild, all would be good. Lardons or bacon could be used for the pancetta, which does add a nice depth to the sauce flavors. I made the full recipe and froze half the sauce to use for a quick dinner sometime.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

1 comment:

  1. DeCecco's casareccia is one of my absolute favourites, and this sounds like a great sauce. That certainly looks like a good book, but definitely a bit of a dilemna deciding whether it should be kept with the pasta books or vegetable books. Maybe it just needs to stay on the bench and get used more :-)

    Thanks for sharing at Cookbook Sundays.

    Sue xo

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