But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it has to be boring and this fantastic quick pasta is a mouthful of delicious fun. The umami of the mushrooms and sweetness of the onions lends a bundle of flavor to the light cream sauce, while the fennel pepper flakes give spicy bursts of flavor reminiscent of biting into an Italian sausage.
The pasta, which looks like giant Rigatoni is called Paccheri and is well suited to holding onto chunky sauces like this. That’s because the tubular shape and broad surface area helps keep the mushrooms evenly distributed so you get the goods with each bite of pasta. The particular variant of paccheri is called paccheri millerighe which has ribs on the exterior surface which further help the sauce cling to the pasta.
I’ve used maitake mushrooms here because I love their meaty flavor, but any flavorful fall mushrooms such as porcinis or shiitake will work great.
Paccheri with Maitake and Basil
Just because some pastas are simple doesn't mean they have to be boring and this fantastic quick paccheri with maitake pasta is a mouthful of delicious fun. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of Fresh Tastes.)
- 5.6 ounces Paccheri (or your favorite pasta)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4.2 ounces maitake mushrooms (chopped)
- 3.2 ounces onion (1/2 small onion, finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- basil (hand torn)
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and broil the pasta for 1 minute less than the package directions.
- Heat a frying pan until hot and then add the olive oil, maitake mushrooms, onion, fennel seeds, and salt. Fry the mixture until the mushrooms start to brown and the mixture is very fragrant.
- When the pasta has about 2 minutes left to go, add the white wine and reduce until the vapors no-longer smell like alcohol. Add the cream and boil to make a thick sauce.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta directly to the pan and add the red pepper flakes and basil, tossing to distribute evenly. If there is not enough sauce you can add some of the boiling liquid from the pasta as needed.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.