Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fettuccine with Ham and Peas


Tonight is clean out the fridge night.
Apparently I buy everything in bulk and the things that I need to use up in my fridge before my next grocery haul were 6 large mushrooms, 2 cups of pear tomatoes, ½ a ham steak, a log of fresh mozzarella and a few other items that wouldn’t make the cut for tonight’s dinner.  I wish I had some parmesan cheese…
That would have been the magic that added the layer of saltiness to balance out the sweetness of the peas and tomatoes. But I didn’t realize that I was out of parmesan cheese until it was too late. I had every other kind of cheese, like fresh mozzarella (that I used, that had great pull, but no personality), bleu, cheddar (sharp and mild), babybel and gruyre, but no parmesan. What’s up with that? I always have a chunk of parmesan ready and waiting to be grated on to a pasta dish or salad.
All the ingredients made sense. The sweet flavor of soft cooked onions in butter, along side the woody meatiness of the mushrooms and the savory flavor of the ham. With the peas adding a sweet creaminess while the baby pear shaped tomatoes magically burst in your mouth as you bit in to each one.
This pasta dish was light and full of naturally sweet flavors that screamed for the salty and creaminess that the parmesan cheese would have added.
Due to the lack of parmesan… I needed a binder for the sauce and decided to use the carbonara technique and scrambled 3 eggs in a bowl to toss the hot pasta in. It kinda worked, but not really. Luckily as I tossed and tossed, the pasta started to absorb the flavors of the sauce and what I ended up with was a decent dinner. That should have been a call back meal, but it wasn’t, all because of the lack of parmesan cheese.
I would definitely make this again using the recipe below.

1 pound fettuccini
¼ cup butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
6 large mushrooms, sliced
2 cups tomatoes
1 ½ cups frozen peas
½ cup dry white wine
½ ham steak, cut into bite size chunks
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as instructed.
Kono taught me this - Cook the mushrooms in a dry pan over med heat allowing the moisture to evaporate and the mushrooms to cook. Stir occasionally to keep them from sticking. Set them aside.
In the same pan; over med – low heat cook the onions with the butter until they are soft, but not brown. Turn up the heat a little and add the wine. Let it cook for about 2 - 3 minutes to cook of the alcohol.
Add the peas, tomatoes and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 2 -3 min. or until the peas are heated through. Add the ham and ½ the cheese.
Add the hot cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Add a ladle or 2 of pasta water if your sauce gets too thick.
Place on a serving dish and sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

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