The weekend started with promise: theatre, friends and all day Sunday with nothing on the schedule. Nothing. It was the strangest thing, but I drew up a to-do list and we plunged in.
Cue: Monday morning with most of the to-do list left undone. I swear we did not sit around the house yesterday. Really.
Rigatoni, Woodsman Style
Adapted from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich
1 tsp. sea salt
1 pound dried rigatoni
3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 large portabello mushroom cap, sliced thickly
6 fresh sage leaves
28 oz. can whole Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 bunch green onions, white and dark green parts only, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup good-quality Parmesan cheese, grated
In a medium bowl, crush the tomatoes by hand into small chunks and set aside.
Put on a large pot of water for the pasta and add a pinch of salt.
Using a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook until the onion is slightly translucent, about three minutes. Then add the sausage and cook thoroughly, using a wooden spoon to further crumble the meat.
Add all the mushrooms at once to the skillet, and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the sage and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add a cup of water and return to a simmer.
Hopefully by this time your pasta water is at a boil; add the rigatoni and cook according to the package until the pasta is al dente. This should take about ten minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving up to a cup of the pasta water in case the sauce needs thinning.
Cook the sauce uncovered for approximately ten minutes, then add the green onions and cook until they wilt into the sauce. Add the cream and stir the sauce thoroughly to incorporate. If the sauce is too thick, then add the pasta water bit by bit. When the sauce is almost finished, add the peas and cook just until they are firm but not mushy.
Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl, then add the sauce and toss thoroughly to coat. Sprinkle some of the Parmesan over the bowl and serve the remainder on the side.
Makes 6 to 8 main-course servings; could make up to 10 to 12 pasta course servings.