Pasta with Mushrooms &
Roasted Garlic Recipe

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Pasta with Mushrooms
and Roasted Garlic
By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer-friendly version of this recipe

We raise several varieties of hard neck garlic which originate in Russia and
northern Europe and are extremely cold hardy. Although their shelf life, at five
to eight months, is shorter than the year or more of soft neck varieties, the flavor
of this northern garlic is richer and more complex.

When roasted, they have a mild, earthy flavor with none of the sharpness or
heat of fresh garlic. Look for them at farmers’ markets or on the Internet, and
you will find them to be vastly superior to the silver skinned soft neck varieties
favored by commercial suppliers.

During last weekend’s snow storm, I decided to roast a few heads to add to
pasta, along with some babypPortabella mushrooms and pancetta found in the
refrigerator. Mushrooms and garlic are a natural pairing which salty pancetta
would complement for a dish typical of Northern Italy. This recipe for
with Mushroom and Roasted Garlic
uses bell-shaped “campanelle” pasta
which is perfect for holding the scant sauce which, typical of Italian dishes,
coats the pasta with rich flavor, rather than pooling in the dish. Chicken stock
and Marsala wine are reduced to finish the sauce.

Authentic Marsala from Sicily ranges from dry to sweet, but in New Hampshire
domestic “Marsala” from California predominates. These brands are usually
too sweet for my taste, but I’ve found that mixing dry vermouth with the
Marsala (one part vermouth to two parts Marsala) approximates the taste of the
dryer Italian vintages.

Roasting garlic is effortless, and the roasted cloves make great additions to
mashed potatoes or soups and can be spread on bread or toast for an
interesting appetizer or snack, so I always make extra. This recipe has few
ingredients, but tomato paste, balsamic vinegar or herbs such as rosemary or
oregano can be added before reducing the sauce to make interesting variations.

For two servings:

8 – 10 ounces campanelle or similar dry Italian pasta
8 ounces crimini or white mushrooms, sliced 1/8 inch thick
½ inch slice pancetta, trimmed of excess fat and coarsely chopped (domestic
and imported pancetta are available in most markets and lack the smoked
flavor of bacon)
Cloves from 3 heads roasted garlic
¼ cup dry vermouth (Gallo produces an excellent, inexpensive vermouth) or
dry white wine
½ cup Marsala
½ cup chicken stock
1 shallot, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Grated Parmiaggiano cheese to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the top ½ inch off the garlic heads, then
sprinkle salt and olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap tightly on a small
packet of aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes until cloves are soft and
golden brown. Let cool, and then remove cloves from their skins by squeezing
from the bottom of each. Place in a small bowl and mash with a fork.

Place pancetta into a 12 inch sauté pan (preferably stainless steel) and cook over
medium heat until lightly browned and fat has rendered. Remove pancetta and
set aside; pour off fat and film pan with olive oil. Cook mushrooms over
medium high heat until browned and moisture has evaporated. Add shallots as
mushrooms are nearly done. Add vermouth, Marsala , chicken stock and garlic
paste; whisk sauce to incorporate the garlic, increase heat to high and reduce
until sauce is thickened. Add pancetta and remove from heat while pasta cooks.

Cook pasta in 3 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water for 8 minutes or so until
it is nearly done. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain pasta. Place sauté pan
over medium heat, add pasta and cook, stirring until pasta is coated with sauce
and tender but still slightly firm. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste; add
some of the pasta water if pasta seems dry – it should glisten with the sauce.
Serve in warmed bowls, adding cheese if desired.

Served with a green salad, some crusty bread, and with a hearty red wine – in
Tuscany, this would almost certainly be a Chianti Classico- this made an ideal
meal on a snowy winter night in New England!

About the author:
An organic farmer and
avid cook, writer
Charlie Burke
is the vice president
of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the
NH Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH)
Farmers' Market.  Along with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic
herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  His
column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England's newsletter...
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Pasta with Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic
Garlic crop at Charlie's Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH (check out the size of the garlic!)
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