It’s raining today, which means our “Make Your Market” feature pretty much has to be a hearty pasta dish. Make no January mistake about it, this is a wintry meal and it’s meant to be enjoyed in your coziest socks and oldest sweatshirt as you twirl the delicate strands of pasta around your fork, listening to the crackling of a lazily burning wood fire. Maybe Nat King Cole croons smooth and soft in the background, maybe the air smells of salt water and spice, maybe fallen rain trickles just beyond your frosted windows … Or not. Because you can also eat this pasta in your cereal bowl on your couch as you take in the scent of your two-days unwashed hair and watch Bird Box for the third time. (Trust me, it’ll taste just as delicious.)
Here’s the recipe …
Pasta with Basil & Chives in Jalapeño Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Serves: 2 (or 1 very hungry person)
1 handful of your favorite pasta
1 tsp. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 cup red wine – and by 1/4 cup I mean however much you feel like because wine
4-5 shiitake mushrooms
1 jalapeño from the Newport Beach Farmers’ Market, diced and de-seeded, though if you’re feeling bold keep as many seeds as your boldness allows
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes from the Newport Beach Farmers’ Market
3 cloves of garlic – rough chopped.
1 small handful of fresh chives from the Newport Beach Farmer’s Market
1/3 cup fresh basil – rough chopped (also, feel free to approximate and not actually sit there trying to measure basil because that seems like a pointless endeavor and how can you really measure basil?)
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. shaved Pecorino Romano
Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring 2 cups of water (with a generous amount of salt and a few drops of olive oil) to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta.
- In a separate pan, melt butter in 1/4 c. olive oil. Add garlic until you can smell the aroma of garlic. Then, using a spatula, remove garlic and set aside. (Why? Well, there’s nothing like the taste of burned garlic to ruin a perfectly delectable meal.)
- Once the butter is melted, add mushrooms and jalapeño. Cook until mushrooms get slightly browned.
- Add tomatoes and red wine. Cook another 2-3 minutes until red wine reduces in the pan.
- Add garlic back in but only allow to cook another minute then TURN OFF THE HEAT! (See above point about charred garlic.) Also, add salt and pepper to the whole thing and stir to combine.
- At this point, your pasta should be done. I use thin pasta so it takes about 10 minutes to cook to the exact doneness I want but figure out yo pasta timing and boil accordingly. (I recommend tasting a strand after 10 minutes and if it’s still not done, leave in another minute or two. Yes, just one minute or two more. Trust me, you don’t want overcooked, goopy pasta on your hands.)
- Strain pasta and place in bowls. IMMEDIATELY add grated parmesan cheese, chives and a little cracked pepper. (I mean, why not?) This “IMMEDATIELY add” bit is a tip I learned from the great Giada De Laurentiis, who apparently got it from her famous grandpa, famed Italian film producer, Dino De Laurentiis. As her story goes, when the pasta is still in its sticky, just-boiled state, the cheese and such adheres to it much better than just sprinkling the Parm on top like some amateur pasta-dish maker, which we most are definitely not. OK, next step …
- Add mushroom/jalapeño/red wine sauce to your pasta.
- Sprinkle shaved Pecorino Romano over the top of the pasta and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Finish with a touch of cracked pepper.
- Add chopped basil and then also one sprig of basil leaves that is un-chopped, which should be placed artistically in the center of the dish in order to make everyone think you’re an awesome, amazing, spectacular cook because of said basil sprig and anyway, why should they think otherwise? Let’s face it … you are.