Fettuccine in Italian means “Ribbons”. The popular ribbon pastas have thus derived their name after it. Fettuccine is a fave among the Romans and the Tuscans. Though this dish is quite an easy thing to do, the key is a gentle and yet good mixing of ingredients to bring out the subtle garlicky, blissfully creamy and the smooth white sauce texture, flavor and finish. The semi-broad, flat and ribbon-style cut pasta’s make this dish best. However, this really could be made using absolutely any pasta one has in hand — there wouldn’t be much a difference in the way it will taste. When it comes to pastas, there’s also this huge “particularity” in how they must appeal to the eyes! Yes, I’ve been told that the greatest chefs that work with pastas are extremely specific on which pasta they use with what sauce and with which ingredients.
Rome has had a long known history of elaborate courses of exquisite, elegant and expensive food fare. Romans took pride in their exotic banquets and wines, and would pay enormous money to buy themselves the greatest of cooks. They were said to particularly love sauces on their plates and prefer dishes that had them over ones that didn’t. They specifically have been known for their love for white sauces — the carbonara, alfredo and the likes. Ovens didn’t find much use in traditional Roman kitchens, since most of their food were either fried or were boiled using olive oil. However, food in Rome were mostly made through simple yet elaborate cooking and weren’t all meat based. Romans didn’t eat too much meat. But pastas and seasonal vegetables have always been a very important part of their food. The best chefs in the world cooked for the Popes in ancient Rome. All in all, whatever said and not, food in Rome was greatly influenced by Greek cuisine and was a center of high class eating.
But today, I made these Mushroom Fettuccine, only because this one-pot, one-dish meal was the easiest lunch to do! Roman folklore has it that deceitful wives would cook it up quickly, having had spend the rest of their day courting their love, so as to not attract suspicion from their husbands. And no!!! I haven’t been cheating on S at all, not even an inch (lol)…..I am much in love with him and intend to spend the rest of my life as his very faithful wife. But the reason I so insanely wanted to “cook it up” quickly today has an entirely different story to it.
Next Saturday is when we’d celebrate our littlest first birthday and I have been madly busy this week. My parents are flying in from India to attend their grandchild’s 1st. Being the art and craft enthusiast that I am, I have over loaded moi with unending things to make and do. Sometimes over committing could get one’s self in such craze! I have learnt this lesson the hard way more than a dozen times in the past and still get tempted into the trap!! That is so “me” — An impulsive, over-driven, perfectionist crafty mommy. And though I must master the art of how to “let it go” sometimes, until I see that day, I would continue to remain this “not-so-sane girl”, when it comes to hosting a private event!
There are so many exciting recipes that I’m waiting to write and share in this space with you…specially the one’s that I have in my head for A’s birthday. They all shall flow here eventually…..slowly, steadily and sweetly. But only after the big busy next Saturday has passed.
For now, I cannot tell you much time this Mushroom Fettuccine saved me today. It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish! This blissfully flexible recipe also provides enough scope for modification and substitution — you may add, replace or negate a couple ingredients if you wish to. Use your favorite pasta to substitute Fettuccine if you like. Happy quick food and happy innovation!! Hope you enjoy relishing this delicately flavored pasta as much as we did this afternoon. I loved it and must make this soon again — the amazingly comforting pasta coated with the silky sauce with mushrooms, chives and cheese pieces thrown in generous measures — it’s making me hungry already. Here’s the recipe before I rush to finish off all the left overs from my refrigerator!!!
Serves 3 – 4
- 1 packet of Fettuccine pasta (500gms or 1 lb)
- 230gms or 8oz white button Mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic (or garlic paste or powder)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 60gms or 2oz Cream cheese
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 100ml or 2/3rd cup milk
- 1 tsp of corn flour or all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
- 200gms or 7oz of Mozzarella or fresh Cottage cheese (or Paneer) or Tofu — cut into small cubes
- 4 tbsp of fresh chopped spring onion greens or lightly dried chives (I used chives)
- 3 tbsp of light Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Dry grated Parmesan cheese to garnish (**Optional)
- Cook the pasta per package instructions, Al Dante. Drain out excess water. Run some cold water through the pasta so the strands don’t stick together. Drain out any excess water and reserve the pasta in the colander.
- In a deep cooking pot, heat olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add garlic, onions and mushrooms. Stir fry them together until the veggies begin to moisten and soften.
- Switch heat to low flame and add cream cheese and allow it to melt.
- Once the cheese is melted, pour in the milk and add ground pepper, salt, flour and onion greens or chives. Mix and cook them on slow heat over low-medium heat for about 1 minute, until the milk thickens slightly.
- Immediately add in the pasta, mozzarella or cottage cheese or tofu cubes and mix them all together for 1 minute, so all the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce as well as the cheese cubes soften just a little.
- Garnish with dry grated Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Enjoy your hearty meal of pasta and have a great one!