Toasted angel hair with tomatoes and mushrooms

April 21, 2010

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Serves 6

One of restaurateur Jody Adams’s favorite dishes is based on a Spanish specialty in which noodles (angel hair here) are browned first in olive oil. It’s a delicious one-pot dish, which makes cleanup a breeze.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound angel hair pasta, broken in a bowl into shorter lengths
3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 can (35 ounces) imported whole tomatoes with their liquid, crushed in a bowl
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan

1. In a large flameproof casserole or soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the angel hair and cook, tossing often with tongs, until the strands are golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot. When it is hot, add the pancetta, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

5. Add the pasta and stock. Bring to a boil, press the pasta into the liquid, and lower the heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. After a few minutes, the pasta will soften enough so you can stir it. At the end of cooking, the dish should be soupy, somewhat like risotto; the pasta will absorb liquid as it stands. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or red pepper, if you like.

6. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan.

Adapted from Jody Adams