"Nothing crazy, just a little pasta."
These were the words I told myself as I was planning dinner. Well, somehow the crazy got in anyway.
What should have been a really simple meal turned into my normal dash-about affair with a stove full of pans. So what did we end up having?
Pasta with crazy. Crazy just happens to include my first white sauce (I couldn't be content to master red sauce, and as such have moved on), asparagus, bell pepper, and mushrooms.
Maybe it just seemed hectic to make it. Maybe I just need a stove with 6 burners instead of the paltry 4 that I currently have. Ahhh... one day.
- 1 box pasta
- 1 pint heavy cream (that's the little square one, not the tall one)
- about 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 4-6 white mushrooms
- a decent parmesan cheese (not the powdered crap from a bottle!) all grated up.
- butter - a good amount
- a dash of white wine
- fresh garlic
- assorted spices
Putting it together went a little something like this:
- Put 2 pots of salted water on to boil, a small one for the asparagus, and a big one for the pasta. Also preheat a medium saucepan on medium.
- Mince your onion, mince your garlic, cut off the tough ends of the asparagus and then cut into bite-sized pieces, cut bell pepper into bite size pieces, slice up your mushrooms. Remove the lid whenever there seems to be enough juice (yeah, real technical timeframe right?)
- Put some butter into your sauce pan and allow to melt just a bit, then throw the onion in and toss to coat. Cook until translucent.
- Throw your heavy cream and half & half into the sauce pan. I also whisked in about a teaspoon of flour (theoretically makes it a little smoother and thicker). Toss in whatever spices fit your fancy. Mine got: fresh garlic, salt, pepper, basil, generic Italian seasoning, and some cayenne pepper. Stir this every few minutes, so that the skin on top doesn't decide to take over the world.
- Put a fry pan on over medium heat and toss your sliced mushrooms in with another pad of butter. Once the butter melts toss the mushrooms to coat, and turn to medium-low. Once all the butter is either absorbed or evaporated throw in the wine. Cover for a few minutes to keep the moisture going.
- Stare at your pot of not-boiling-yet water and wonder why the hell it isn't boiling yet... your other one is boiling. Talk nice to it, and hope that it starts boiling soon. Otherwise everything else is going to hell quickly. Create an ice bath while you impatiently stare at pot.
- When it finally does start boiling, you can throw your asparagus into the little pot, and your box of pasta into the big pot.
- After 2-3 minutes pull out the asparagus pieces and put them in the ice bath. No, they aren't quite cooked yet. That's what we want!
- Spend a few minutes prying the pasta that you forgot to stir off the bottom of the pot.
- Keep stirring the sauce. Throw in your cheese. Turn the mushrooms down to low once they turn a darkish shade of brown. Get another fry pan warming up on high with some olive oil.
- Strain the asparagus. If you are smart you can pat dry with a towel. If you like to live dangerously (a.k.a. like me) don't dry them and throw them in the now-hot pan. Then do the "oh my god oil splattering everywhere" dance while your significant other giggles at your pain. Toss with a bit of salt and pepper, maybe a touch of lime or lemon juice? Throw your bell pepper in too for good measure. Cook until minor cook marks start showing up, or until everything is heated through (remember, ice bath = cold asparagus)
- The pasta should be done, so strain it. Get out your plates, and dish it up.
- Try to get your wife to do the dishes....
I was actually impressed by the sauce. It was very tasty, though it did overwhelm the asparagus a bit. Maybe a little less cheese next time. If you wanted a meat in here, some chicken would make a good addition, though I would cook it first and then toss it in at the end.