I chat with Sarah-Beth of Nonna’s Noodles whenever I see her selling her wares at one of the Portland Farmers Markets. I admire the picture she displays of herself with her radiant Italian grandmother (Nonna). It’s heart warming to to see cherished traditions passed from woman to woman in a family, most especially when those traditions involve food. But it took me until today to actually buy a couple bags of her gorgeous pasta.
The reason is that I make great pasta myself. Well, when I actually make pasta, which lately seems to be almost never. The reality of my way-too-busy life is beginning to hit home. It pains me to say this, but for now at least, I need to buy my pasta. Luckily, I found Nonna’s Noodles and this pasta is every bit as wonderful as the best homemade pasta.
Sarah-Beth makes her artisan pasta in the time-honored way. She uses all organic ingredients and local free pasture eggs, and I swear you can taste that difference in the pasta. In addition, she rolls her pasta dough extremely thin, which makes for a wondrously tender, almost ethereal effect on the palate.
I woke up this morning dreaming of the dish called Straw and Hay. Do you know it? So when I got to the market, I bought a 4-ounce package each of Nonna’s regular egg linguine and spinach linguine. I could tell as soon as the pasta went into the pot of boiling water that this is not ordinary pasta. It doesn’t clump together, and it retains its color and texture after 3 minutes of boiling. Tasting reveals depth of flavor and toothsome tenderness.
Straw and Hay consists of two hues of fettuccini (“straw” yellow and “hay” green), sautéed mushrooms (preferably wild), pancetta or ham, reduced cream or mascarpone, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sometimes a sprinkling of tiny blanched peas. I adore this dish, and with so many varieties of wild mushrooms available right now, it’s the perfect time to make it.
In addition to the pasta, I also found Jacob’s Creamery mascarpone at the market this morning. No sweet peas yet though. And although the market was overflowing with wild mushrooms, I somehow forgot to actually buy them. Thus, an emergency run to Zupan’s Market was required, and I ended up using crimini mushrooms, as you can see in the photos.
Spinach & Egg Fettuccini with Wild Mushrooms & Pancetta (Straw & Hay)
I have been making and serving this dish since my early years as a culinary instructor and cooking school director. It always meets with rave reviews. It’s simple and relatively quick to make, especially if you purchase the pasta, rather than make it yourself.
With the wide variety of wild mushrooms that are now available in the Northwest, this is a great dish to have in your repertoire.
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup low-salt chicken stock
3/4 cup mascarpone (or cream)
4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered lengthwise
1/2 pound wild mushrooms, such as baby porcinis (baby bellas), cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 ounces homemade or artisan egg fettuccini (Nonna’s Noodles is excellent)
4 ounces homemade or artisan spinach fettuccini (Nonna’s Noodles is excellent)
finely grated sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1.Fill a large pasta or soup pot with cold water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.
2.In a small saucepan, reduce chicken stock to ¼ cup.
3.Add mascarpone to the reduced chicken stock and simmer to thicken slightly. Keep warm over low heat.
4.In a large sauce pan, add the pancetta and sauté over medium heat to brown and render the fat. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and remove the pancetta to a small bowl.
5.Add 1 tablespoon butter to the sauté pan and set back on the turner.
6.Over medium heat, sauté shallots and garlic until just golden.
7.Add mushrooms and rosemary, and turn the heat up to high. Toss the mushrooms with the lemon juice.
8.Sauté until the mushrooms release their juices. Continue cooking until most of the liquid evaporates.
9.Add rendered pancetta and keep warm over low heat.
10.Season sauce with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice if necessary.
11.When water is boiling rapidly, add the pasta. Boil until just tender, about 4-6 minutes.
12.Quickly drain and put into a large serving bowl.
13.Toss cooked, drained pasta with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sauce.
14.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
More Pork Recipes from LunaCafe:
- Apple Cider-Brined Tenderloin of Pork with Rhubarb Deglazing Sauce
- Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Garlic-Ginger BBQ Glaze
- Homemade Mexican Chorizo–with a Secret
- Pasta Carbonara Perfecta Mundo
- Smoky Spanish Zarzuela with Chorizo & Emmer Farro
- Strozzapreti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Broccolini & Garlic Crema
- The Best Damned Hash
More Pasta Recipes from LunaCafe:
- LunaCafe OtherWorldly Mac & Cheese
- Old World Spaetzle: The New Pasta?
- Old-Fashioned Creamy Macaroni Salad
- Spicy Penne & Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing
- World Famous Green Chile Mac & Cheese