Pasta with Mushrooms, Peas and Prosciutto

I’m tempted to say, “Find some mushrooms and get some water ready,” because this recipe is that good. It had been a year since we’d made it. (“We” being me at the chopping board, and Jeff consulting the recipe and getting the pasta going.) But as soon as I poured the cream sauce into the pasta, added the mushrooms, peas and proscuitto, the aroma reminded me that this is addictive stuff.

I wish mushrooms like this were available more often. I only see them a few times a year, mostly at farmers markets and occasionally at supermarkets. We got ours through our food cooperative, which I gush about all the time now. We brought home a bag filled with about a half pound of shiitakes, oyster mushrooms and other varieties I can’t name. They reminded me of delicate little ears. Their shelf life is short. Keeping them for 24 hours was pushing it.

This recipe highlights the mushrooms. It’s not fussy or time consuming, and it’s easy. Use freshly grated Parmesan (NOT the stuff in a green can). If fresh sweet peas are available, use them rather than frozen peas.

Pasta with Mushrooms, Peas and Prosciutto
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1995

1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup whipping cream (I had half-and-half on hand and used it. It’s just as good.)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled but not chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inches pieces
12 ounces penne or other tubular pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
8 thin prosciutto slices, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips


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