Recipe from The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti (Chronicle Books, 2011)During the 1970s, my mother made countless batches of this colorful pasta dish, named "hay and straw," because it combines golden egg noodles and emerald spinach noodles. Mixed together in a glorious tangle, they are dressed in a classic cream sauce laced with mushrooms and peas. For years, Mom chaired the food booth at the annual Christmas bazaar fund-raiser at my school, and filled literally hundreds of orders for her paglia e fieno. She prepared the batches in advance, packed them in tightly covered aluminum containers, and froze them for people to take home and reheat in the oven. Recently, while reminiscing about those days with my mom, I told her I could have sworn that her paglia e fieno also had cooked chicken mixed in with those mushrooms and peas. Turns out I was wrong. Still, I had a hunch that the combination might work, so I added some crumbled chicken sausage to my version. It was a good hunch.
Makes 10 or more servings
- 1 cup/30 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 3/4 cup/180 ml boiling water
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb/455 g chicken sausages
- 1/4 cup/60 ml dry white wine
- 1 lb/455 g mixed fresh mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, and baby bella, stems removed and caps cut into quarters
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 11/2 cups/ (360 mL) heavy cream
- 2 cups/280 g fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
- 1 batch Basic Egg Pasta Dough (1 lb/455g), cut into tagliolini (See recipe here )
- 1 batch Spinach Pasta Dough (1 lb/455g) , cut into tagliolini (See recipe below)
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Put the porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain the porcini in a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp paper towels/absorbent paper or cheesecloth/muslin, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and set the mushrooms and liquid aside separately.
Warm 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan placed over medium heat. Remove the sausages from their casings and pick them apart over the frying pan, allowing the chunks of sausage to drop directly into the pan. Sauté, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to break up the large pieces of sausage, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until no trace of pink remains and the meat is cook through and just beginning to brown. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the wine. Cook for about 1 minute, or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and transfer the sausage to a bowl.
Wipe the frying pan clean with paper towels/absorbent paper. Put the remaining 2 tbsp oil in the frying pan and place over medium heat. Stir in the reserved porcini and the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until the liquid that the mushrooms release has evaporated and they are tender. Sprinkle in the salt, a generous grind of pepper, and the parsley and mix well.
Add the butter to the frying pan, and when it has melted, return the sausages to the frying pan, stirring to combine them with the butter and mushrooms. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the reserved porcini liquid. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the sauce is nicely thickened. Stir in the peas and cook for just a couple of minutes, or until heated through but still bright green. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm while you cook the pasta.
Bring a very large pot or a stockpot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. When the sauce is ready, add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate the noodles, and cover the pot. Begin checking the pasta for doneness within 1 minute; tagliolini cook quickly. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water.
If the frying pan is large enough, transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Otherwise, return the pasta to the pot and spoon about two-thirds of the sauce over it. Gently toss the pasta and sauce to coat the noodles evenly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Transfer the dressed pasta to a warmed serving bowl and spoon the remaining sauce over it. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and serve immediately.
Spinach Pasta Dough
Emerald green, at once earthy and elegant, spinach pasta is a staple in Italy, particularly in Emilia-Romagna, where it is used in the region's most renowned dish, Lasagne Verde alla Bolognese.
Makes about 1 lb/455 g
- 9 oz/255 g fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 to 21/4 cups/255 to 285 g "00" flour or unbleached all-purpose/plain flour
- 2 tbsp semolina flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pour 1 to 2 tbsp of water into a pot over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, cover, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted and tender. Drain the spinach in a colander set in the sink. When it is cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Put the spinach and 1 egg in a food processor. Process to a smooth puree. Scoop the spinach mixture into a bowl. Wash and dry the work bowl and blade of the food processor and reassemble the processor.
Put 2 cups/255 g "00" flour, the 2 tbsp semolina flour, salt, and nutmeg in the food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the spinach mixture and the remaining egg and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs that look like small curds. Pinch together a bit of the mixture and roll it around. It should form a soft ball. If the mixture seems dry, drizzle in a few droplets of water and pulse briefly. If the mixture seems too wet and sticky, add additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse briefly.
Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface sprinkled lightly with semolina flour and press it together with your hands to form a rough ball. Knead the dough: Using the palm of your hand, push the dough gently but firmly away from you, and then fold it over toward you. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the pushing and folding motion. Continue kneading for several minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. Form it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.