I gotta be honest, though - I wasn't feeling this dinner. I really can't put my finger on why, though, so I don't know how to adjust for next time. I think I was just expecting something cozy (I mean, really - pasta=comfort food!) and it just didn't deliver. It certainly wasn't BAD; just not what I was hoping for.
To all of my fellow dinner divas - sorry I let y'all down. Don't hold it against me...!
And for the record, this might be the very first Giada meal to disappoint me.
- 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces assorted mushrooms (like shiitake, cremini, and brown), stemmed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups very hot water. Set aside and let the mushrooms soften.
Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse the vegetables until finely chopped but still chunky. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the porcini mushroom liquid. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, and tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the porcini mushroom liquid and red wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and stir just until the cheese is incorporated.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add to the vegetable mixture. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, if necessary, to moisten the sauce. Toss with Parmesan and serve.