Pasta with mushrooms: It was the default (and sometimes only) vegetarian dish in restaurants for probably far too long. We’ve come a long way — now it’s entirely possible to eat out without ever feeling the need to declare a dietary restriction if all you’re doing is avoiding meat and seafood. That’s how many options there are on most modern, urban menus.
Exactly none of that progress means that pasta with mushrooms has lost its appeal. If anything, the dish now seems almost nostalgic.
At Felidia, Lidia Bastianich’s flagship New York restaurant, it’s a year-round classic, with the mushrooms varying by season but often including beautiful wild specimens — chanterelles, morels and porcini — with, of course, freshly made pappardelle. I’m sure it’s a showstopper. Bastianich includes a recipe for it in her latest cookbook.
At home, on any given weeknight, I’m after something different. So I streamlined her recipe to use high-quality dried pasta and a mix of good old cremini and shiitake, available any time of the year. I don’t need a showstopper, after all. I just need an excellent, comforting bowl of pasta, and this recipe delivers.