Super-Mushroomy Tiny Pasta Cooked Creamy Like Risotto (But Easier)

Super-Mushroomy Tiny Pasta Cooked Creamy Like Risotto

Recipe excerpt from:
The Global Pantry Cookbook
by Ann Taylor Pittman and Scott Mowbray

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

Global Pantry Ingredients: 

  • Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • Marsala

Headnote

Scott never quite mastered risotto, and mostly left it to the restaurant pros after he began cooking acini di pepe, a tiny semolina pasta shape similar in size to pearl couscous, in the risotto style, inspired by a Mark Bittman recipe of yore. The texture of the pasta here is delightfully supple. It’s an easy, earthy, sophisticated main dish, perfect with a medium-bodied Italian red such as a Barbera or a Valpolicella. Add the optional marsala if you like a slightly deeper, more winey flavor.

Try This!

Dried Porcini Mushrooms
Dried porcini possess a concentration of rich, earthy flavor, an unmatched essence of mushroom that’s released when soaked or powdered in a chopper. Look for American or European versions in supermarkets, Whole Foods, and online, in one or two-ounce packets.

Timing Tip

Cook Just Until Almost Done
The size and manufacturer of the pasta, and how vigorously you cook it, will vary the cooking time quite a bit. To avoid mush, stop when it’s just reaching the al dente stage—it will continue to cook as you add the cheese and serve. The consistency should be a bit saucy, not like seized-up porridge. Slightly larger pasta such as orzo will likely take a bit longer. 

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced as finely as you can manage
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 12 ounces acini di pepe or other tiny pasta such as orzo
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon dry marsala wine or rich sherry (such as oloroso) (optional)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, or 1 cup super-finely Microplane-grated Parmesan
  1. Chop half of the dried mushrooms into pea-sized bits. Place in a small microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and microwave on High for 2 minutes; set aside. Place the other half of the dried mushrooms in a mini food processor; pulverize to a powder, about 45 seconds (there will be small flecks or chunks in the powder, and that’s the idea).
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, swirling until it melts. Add the onion; sauté until softened and blond in color, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms and sauté until just starting to soften, 3 minutes more. Add the soaked mushrooms with their liquid, the mushroom powder, and pasta; cook with the heat turned high enough for it to bubble energetically, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. 
  3. This starts the risotto-style cooking process: Continue to stir, adding the white wine and then the stock a little at a time, letting the pasta absorb the liquid, before gradually adding the rest of the stock. When the pasta is almost cooked, about 18 minutes, add the marsala, if using, the thyme, and the salt. When the pasta is just al dente, correct the consistency with stock or hot water if necessary (it should be saucy, not porridge-like). Immediately portion into 4 bowls and top with a few turns of black pepper and the grated cheese. 

Artichoke and Crab Pasta

Artichoke and Crab Pasta by Michael Crupain MD

Recipe excerpt from:
The Power Five: Essential Foods for Optimum Health

by Michael Crupain, MD, MPH

This is inspired by the classic dip, usually weighed down with lots of cream cheese, on menus at many bars and restaurants. This version features the artichoke and crab in their purest and healthiest forms. I prefer to use king crab, which has a decent amount of omega-3s, but you can use blue crab, too. The artichoke base of this recipe is the crema di carciofi that is also in the recipe for carciofi e pepe pasta in The What to Eat When Cookbook.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound king crab legs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can quartered
  • artichokes, drained
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
  • Salt
  • 400 grams whole wheat
  • linguine, spaghetti, or home-made Sourdough Busiate
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh
  • parsley

Directions

  1. Cut the crab shells using a pair of kitchen shears, and remove the crab meat. Chop the crab meat into chunks and reserve.
  2. Process the artichokes and oil in a Vitamix or other high-speed blender on low speed, gradually increasing the speed and pureeing until the mixture is very thick (it may not puree if you increase the speed too quickly). Scrape the sides of the blender, then shake the jar, and continue to puree on high speed, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a very smooth puree is reached. Be patient; this may take 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Place the artichoke puree in a sauté pan with the crab meat, and warm gently over low heat while you make the pasta.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to make the water salty like the sea. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water; transfer pasta to the artichoke mixture, and stir to combine. Add a little pasta water if it’s too thick. Season with pepper to taste, garnish with the parsley, and drizzle with olive oil.

NOTE: If using dried pasta, you can use the whole box if you want, but Dr. Crupain recommends 100 grams per person.

Show 550, November 4, 2023: Robert Schueller of Melissa’s / World Variety Produce-Produce Trends for 2023 Part Two

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA Studio

Robert Schueller of Melissa’s / World Variety Produce (also known as The Prince of Produce) is our resident expert on all things fruits and vegetables. Melissa’s isn’t big on fancy titles but Robert serves as their long-time Director of Public Relations.

For the last 14 years Robert has presented his Annual Melissa’s Produce Trends and New Products report at the massive Global Produce and Floral Show which this year took over the Anaheim Convention Center before moving on to Atlanta next year. Robert continues with us sharing informed highlights of his presentation including the Top 20 Specialty Produce Items 2023, Produce Trends 2023 and Newest Products 2023.

Think there is nothing new under the sun with pasta? Consider Hearts of Palm Pasta. “When you crave pasta, but would prefer not to eat traditional pasta, Melissa’s new Hearts of Palm Pasta is there for you—your taste buds will agree!”

“Made from the tender inner core of the palm tree, and cut into a noodle shape, Melissa’s Hearts of Palm Pasta is a tasty pasta alternative with just 20 calories per serving and 4 grams of carbs. It has a slightly nutty flavor, reminiscent of artichokes, but is overall quite mild and absorbs the flavor of whatever you choose to make.”

“From simple spaghetti with marinara to spicy Pad Thai, Hearts of Palm Pasta proves itself to be a satisfying and versatile ingredient. Furthermore, this product is ethically sourced from Ecuador and does not contain any preservatives or citric acid. In fact, there’s only one ingredient: hearts of palm!”

Show 508, January 21, 2023: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Pizzaiolo Ahmad Jamal Butler of Miller Butler Part One

Ahmed Jamal Butler of MillerButler

“The city-wide 2nd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will take place January 22-29, 2023. Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will be an avenue to bring everyone to the table, from all walks of life, to showcase the city’s diverse Black food scene. Organized by Long Beach Food & Beverage, a California registered 501(c)3 non-profit, Long Black Restaurant Week is an eight day, city-wide event devoted to celebrating African, African American, and Caribbean fare in and around Long Beach. The event also seeks to highlight Black-owned food businesses as well as Black chefs and bartenders.”

One of the participating restaurants (with a pop-up) is MillerButler, “a grassroots mobile fresh pasta and woodfired pizza company based out of San Pedro. Their aim is to celebrate life within their community (and beyond) through a unique set of culinary experiences. They love cultivating moments of the good life- or “Dolce Vita,” by way of connecting over food.”

“Miller Butler makes a variety of high-quality handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, teach cooking and pasta making classes, provide catering and private chef services.”

“Miller Butler is founded in strong family roots and driven by passion. They are a husband and wife owned brand. The company name reflects the joining of their two families.”

““Miller,” is Chef Jillana Nadine Miller aka Chef J. She was practically born in the kitchen and has come up through the ranks as a “private chef to the stars”. Building the dream of MillerButler with her husband is the next step in her mission to branch out further and wider to cultivate joy and connection through food.”

““Butler,” is Ahmad Jamal Butler, a gifted Pizzaiolo and pasta maker. A talented home cook with 15 years of experience in the Hotel Hospitality industry, Ahmad has taken on the challenge of creating delicious canvas’ for Chef J’s flavorful creations. He has been refining MillerButler’s dough recipes over the last 2 years and receiving rave reviews.” Chef Ahmad is our guest with pizza peel in hand.

During Long Beach Black Restaurant Week MillerButler will be in- residence at Trademark Brewing on Tuesday, January 24th from 4:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. (or until they run out of dough.)

Show 508, January 21, 2023: Long Beach Black Restaurant Week with Pizzaiolo Ahmad Jamal Butler of Miller Butler Part Two

Ahmed Jamal Butler of MillerButler

“The city-wide 2nd annual Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will take place January 22-29, 2023. Long Beach Black Restaurant Week will be an avenue to bring everyone to the table, from all walks of life, to showcase the city’s diverse Black food scene. Organized by Long Beach Food & Beverage, a California registered 501(c)3 non-profit, Long Black Restaurant Week is an eight day, city-wide event devoted to celebrating African, African American, and Caribbean fare in and around Long Beach. The event also seeks to highlight Black-owned food businesses as well as Black chefs and bartenders.”

“One of the participating restaurants (with a pop-up) is MillerButler, a grassroots mobile fresh pasta and woodfired pizza company based out of San Pedro. Their aim is to celebrate life within their community (and beyond) through a unique set of culinary experiences. They love cultivating moments of the good life- or “Dolce Vita,” by way of connecting over food.”

“Miller Butler makes a variety of high-quality handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, teach cooking and pasta making classes, provide catering and private chef services.”

“Miller Butler is founded in strong family roots and driven by passion. They are a husband and wife owned brand. The company name reflects the joining of their two families.”

““Miller,” is Chef Jillana Nadine Miller aka Chef J. She was practically born in the kitchen and has come up through the ranks as a “private chef to the stars”. Building the dream of MillerButler with her husband is the next step in her mission to branch out further and wider to cultivate joy and connection through food.”

““Butler,” is Ahmad Jamal Butler, a gifted Pizzaiolo and pasta maker. A talented home cook with 15 years of experience in the Hotel Hospitality industry, Ahmad has taken on the challenge of creating delicious canvas’ for Chef J’s flavorful creations. He has been refining MillerButler’s dough recipes over the last 2 years and receiving rave reviews.” Chef Ahmad is our guest with pizza peel in hand.

Chef Ahmad continues as our guest with pizza peel in hand.

During Long Beach Black Restaurant Week MillerButler will be in-residence at Trademark Brewing on Tuesday, January 24th from 4:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. or until the dough runs out.

Show 415, March 6, 2021: Restaurateur and Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Otium at The Broad and Free Play

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth

“In this difficult period for hospitality the non-profit, Ment’or, is aware of the importance of mentorship and remain steadfast in their commitment to that mission. Mentorship and leadership are needed throughout all our communities to invigorate us with hope and motivation. It is critical, especially during these times, that we continue to support and enrich the future for our young chefs ”

“Each month during 2021 Ment’or will be hosting virtual cooking lessons, inclusive of a Q & A, with a featured chef from their culinary family to share their knowledge and lessons they have learned throughout the journey and on the importance of mentorship.”

Los Angeles’ own Chef Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium, Free Play and C.J. Boyd’s) is set for Mentors, Our Inspiration. Virtual Cooking Series” at 4:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday, March 16th via Zoom. The experience includes the recipe and ingredient list for each featured dish. Chef Tim’s featured dish is Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Blistered Tomatoes. This pasta dish is a favorite of Chef Tim’s 5-year old daughter, Hunter, who will be participating in the cooking demo with him. It’s a regular dish on the Family Table at The Hollingsworth household. Also, an exclusive Q&A with Chef Hollingsworth.

“All proceeds from each virtual event will go towards Ment’or’s programs which help support the culinary community, including: providing young chefs fully funded internships at restaurants around the world, Team USA and their competitions, which opens the doors to further the careers of young chefs across the country, and the Giving Fund, which directs necessary funds to restaurant workers in times of crisis.”

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth is our guest to preview his upcoming Ment’or Virtual Cooking Class.

Show 392, September 26, 2020: Chef Enrico Glaudo of Tra di Noi in Malibu

Enrico Glaudo of Tra Di NoiAngelenos who dine out frequently may remember the name of Chef Enrico Glaudo (Italian-born) from his long tenure with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of the fondly remembered Primi in West Los Angeles. He trained at two, 3-Star Michelin restaurants in Italy. Chef Enrico recently joined Malibu’s long-running Tra di Noi Ristorante Italiano as executive chef for proprietor Tarcisio Hess. It’s been a popular local icon of welcoming Italian hospitality and dining for 30 years. The proprietor is highly visible interacting with guests, many of whom dine there multiple times a week.

Tra di Noi literally means “between us”.

“We have chosen this name because we feel and believe in a casual, friendly and homey atmosphere. The decor is warm and romantic. Our cooking style is just as you would find in the Italian countryside.”

“Tra di Noi’s extensive menu features an appealing variety of classic Italian dishes prepared from the finest, freshest ingredients available. All of the pastas are handmade daily. Known for their own special flair in the creation of traditional “cucina autentica,” including a sumptuous selection of pastas, superb crudo, unique salads and delicious seasonal specialties.”

A percentage of Tra di Noi’s produce is from Thorn Family Farm which is a local farm in Malibu. The restaurant also supports the Malibu Farmers Market and Malibu Olive Oil Company.

Chef Enrico joins us to discuss his plans for refreshing the menu and keeping the loyal regulars coming back while attracting new guests.

Show 334, July 27, 2019: Executive Chef Eric Samaniego, Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach

Eric Samaniego of Michael's on NaplesExecutive Chef Eric Samaniego and Michael’s on Naples on Naples Island are part of DINE LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week. Chef Eric celebrated his 3rd Anniversary of success with Michael’s a few months back.

“Our highest priority is providing you with an unforgettable dining experience. We partner with local farms to source fresh, seasonal produce. We believe in making everything from scratch—pasta to sauces, mozzarella to gelato.”

“We know where everything on your plate came from, and we believe it’s your right to know as well. Quality is our highest priority; we don’t cut corners, and it shows. We invite you to dine with us so you can see—and taste—for yourself.”

At Michael’s Chef Samaniego offers guests the options of a Chef’s Tasting menu, a Pasta Tasting menu and an a la carte option. Brunch is available on Sunday.

We’ll get updated on Michael’s on Naples with Chef Eric and preview their DINE LBC menu.

 

Show 229, June 24, 2017: Executive Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson, Rossoblu, City Market South Continues…

Steve Samson of Sotto and RossobluRossoblu celebrates Chef / Proprietor Steve Samson’s two home cities, Los Angeles and Bologna, Italy. The menu features house-made salumi, soulful pastas, market produce, and wood grilled fish and meats.

Located in downtown’s City Market South, the site of Los Angeles’s original produce market, Rossoblu’s vaulted dining room and open kitchen create a festive dining environment. The restaurant’s private outdoor piazza allows al fresco diners to feel far removed from the nearby city bustle. An intimate basement wine cellar can be reserved for private parties.

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Show 169, April 30, 2016: Proprietor / Executive Chef Steve Samson, Sotto, Los Angeles

Steve Samson of SottoChef Steve Samson’s Sotto located just East of Century City recently celebrated it’s 5th Anniversary. In recognition of the occasion there was a renovation. Chef Steve is with us with an update. He also has a new restaurant on the horizon, Rossoblu, in Downtown Los Angeles

At Sotto expect an honest, market-driven menu of regionally-inspired Southern Italian dishes, including fresh house-made pastas and Neapolitan pizza cooked in an artisan wood burning oven.

The wine program has been called “one of the most interesting lists” in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times and “one of the best places to drink Italian wine in LA” by Los Angeles Magazine.

The food at Sotto is complemented by a fresh, seasonally relevant cocktail program with a strong background in the classics and the utilization of lesser known Italian liqueurs.

Chef Steve is very proud that as part of the renovation he was finally able to make room in the kitchen for a suitable gelato maker. Gelato is now on the dessert menu at Sotto!

Rossoblu, located in Downtown’s vibrant Fashion District, hopes to launch before year’s end. The menu with be a tribute to the foods of his Mother who is from Bologna in Northern Italy.