Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bari-Style Broccolini + Mushroom Pasta

Bari is one of my favorite restaurants in Memphis. Think coastal Italian cuisine focused on traditional dishes from Southern Italy --- plus so many wonderful vegetarian options. This is no accident. Chef Jason Severs and his wife Rebecca often opt for meatless meals when cooking for their own family. The couple even put on an all-vegetarin wine dinner at Bari last year. What a memorable experience!

I typically start with eggplant fritters and fava beans to share, and then I move on to a grilled radicchio salad. For my entrée, I almost always get the Pasta con Fungi, Broccoli e Formaggio di Capra. I know it sounds fancy, but it's as straightforward as you can get: a few good ingredients expertly prepared and served, which is representative of Jason's cooking both at Bari and his great new place on Broad Avenue, Three Angels Diner.

Bari Style Broccolini + Mushroom Pasta

1 large portobello mushroom (thinly sliced)
8 ounces dried penne pasta
3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
lemon zest
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
2 cups broccolini (briefly blanched in super-salty water)
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In a large pan over medium-high heat, fry the slices of mushroom in olive oil until brown. (This is best done in batches.) Remove mushrooms and set aside. In the same pan, cook garlic until lightly browned, and then add the lemon zest, white wine, and some cracked black pepper. Reduce the wine by half, and then lower the burner to medium-low.

Add the milk and cream to the pan and allow that mixture to come up to temperature. Cut the broccolini into bite-sized pieces. Add in the mushrooms, broccolini, and the cooked pasta. Turn the heat off and add most of the cheese reserving some for garnish. Stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce and the pasta is coated. Serve pasta in a warm bowl. Garnish with parsley, grated cheese, and tiny drizzle of good olive oil.

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