Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Angel Hair Pasta with Gruyere and Parmigiano

1 1/2 cups milk (ideally whole or with a bit of cream added to low fat) 
1 or 2 shallots
1/4 pound or so of mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
4 or 5 ounces of gruyere
1 or 2 ounces of parmigiano 
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
8 ounces angel hair pasta

Where the quantities are flexible above, exact amounts don't matter much. Get the approximate scale right, and it'll be good.

 Put the milk in a measuring cup and microwave on high for a minute and a half.
Start your pasta water on its way to boiling.
Put one tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick pan over low-medium heat.

Mince the shallots, aiming for about a quarter cup.
Swirl or brush the butter around the pan, and add the shallots.

Slice the mushrooms about a quarter inch thick, and then cut smaller ones in half and larger ones in thirds.

Add the mushrooms to the pan, and stir everything around.

Grate the cheese while stirring the shallots and mushrooms occasionally. Aim for a full cup of cheese, at least 3/4 Gruyere.

Push the shallots and mushrooms to one side of the pan and add two more tablespoons of butter.

When the butter has melted and started to foam, add the flour, a double pinch of salt, roughly the same amount of grated pepper, and a single pinch of nutmeg.

Mix the flour quickly into the butter and keep stirring rapidly for about a minute. Include the vegetables in the stirring because they're hiding butter.

Add a third of that warm milk and stir rapidly into everything else. Repeat two more times, and stir until it's the consistency of melted ice cream throughout.

Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner. Dump in the cheese and stir it around a little. Then leave it to melt quietly.

Put the pasta in the water, and do what you need to stirring gently to loosen the nests.

Drain the pasta when it's cooked.

Turn the heat back on beneath the sauce, and stir quickly to be sure the cheese is fully blended in.  Watch for steam to rise off the pan a bit, using that as your sign that it will be happily warm-hot when you start eating.  Don't let it boil.

Remove from sauce from heat and combine with the pasta.  My pan was big enough to dump the pasta right in. Putting both in a bowl would also work.

Taste and consider adding more pepper.

This is basically macaroni and cheese using William-Sonoma's Easy Peasy kid-oriented recipe, but with subtler ingredients. At Molly and Jim's wedding buffet, the pasta had both cheese and mushrooms, and this is my first use of that inspiration.