Simplicity strikes again.
This pasta dish may seem rather ho hum, but I’m telling you, it is not. The final presentation isn’t out of the ordinary and the flavors aren’t big or punchy. Yet everything about this pasta is as it should be–straightforward, wholesome, and refreshingly simple. This is just the kind of thing you want to eat while you’re curled up on the couch with your favorite blanket and a nice glass of wine. So give yourself a break from trying to outdo every dinner you’ve ever made and embrace the idea that comfort food should be relaxing and comforting for you, too. I think you’ll like it.
Linguine with Grilled Portabellas and Pecorino
adapted from Gourmet, June 2009
1 1/4 lbs. portabella mushrooms (about 6), stemmed
3 TBSP olive oil
3/4 lb. linguine (I used whole wheat)
3/4 c. grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
1 TBSP chopped oregano or marjoram
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
salt, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan on medium-high heat (high for gas grill) and brush grates with oil.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure
Brush mushroom caps with vegetable oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Oil grill rack, then grill mushrooms, stemmed sides
down, covered only if using a gas grill, 5 minutes. Turn mushrooms over
and grill until tender, about 3 minutes more. Cool slightly and slice.
Cook penne in a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water
until al dente. Reserve 3 tablespoon cooking water, then drain pasta.
Toss pasta with reserved cooking water, mushrooms, Pecorino, marjoram, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil. Grill, stem side down, about five minutes. Flip and grill under tender, 3 minutes more. Remove and set aside until just cool enough to handle, but still warm. Cut into thick strips. (Though I didn’t try it, the original recipe says this can be done the day before. Refrigerate mushrooms and bring to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.)
3. Meanwhile, cook linguine to package directions. Reserve 3 TBSP past water then drain. Return to pot (off heat) and toss with reserved cooking water, mushrooms, cheese, herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Serve immediately with extra cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serves 4.