I hate to be critical, but Americans have a problem. We love overdressing our pasta. Somewhere, in the pantheon of home cooking, Americans with our “more is better” frame of mind decided that pasta dishes are about the sauce. I say, if I’m going to spend my time making homemade pasta, the dish better be about the noodle. This hand cut pappardelle with simple mushroom sauce is a dish all about the pasta.
With wide ribbons of pappardelle and a broth/wine based sauce, this is the perfect side when you have a big roast. Using an entire batch of fresh pasta I would suggest it happily serves 4 to 6 as an entree. As a side, 6-8. It requires some time to make. You are going to reduce quite a lot of wine and stock to make the sauce, and homemade pasta takes times if you are doing everything by hand. If you are using a food processor and the pasta maker attachment on your mixer, the pasta itself goes pretty quickly. And if you are making for a party, everything can be made in advance. When the time comes to serve, all you have to do is reheat the sauce, cook the pasta (3-4 minutes) and combine. Pretty easy.
For the Pasta
I prefer to use a little semolina flour in my pappardelle. The dish above was 1/4 cup of semolina and 1 and 3/4 cups of type 00 flour. AP or bread flour works fine, just remember you want 2 cups total.
2 cups flour
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse to combine. Hand knead on the counter until the dough is smooth then rest in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes.
Roll to desired thickness, I went to level 6 thinness on my Kitchenaid roller.
Flour the sheets, gently fold, then cut into thirds lengthwise to give you roughly 1.5″ ribbons. Separate the noodles and flour them so they don’t stick together, and set them aside until ready to cook. I like to lay them on a sheet pan, with parchment or plastic in between layers.
For the Sauce
3 cups dry white wine (I often use leftover wine, about a half bottle)
5 cups chicken stock (homemade is preferable, but store bought hurt no-one)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 packages of sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
2 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
salt/pepper to taste
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Shredded, grated, or shaved parmesan cheese, to garnish
Start by putting the wine and stock in a pot to simmer and reduce. You are starting with 8 cups liquid that you want to reduce down to 2 cups. Since you are reducing by so much, do not season this until reduced or it will end up super salty. Also, if you are using store-bought stock/broth, after reducing it can get salty, so taste and wait to season your mushrooms until you’ve added the reduced liquid. Depending on your pot and your patience, this can take up to 3 hours. I tend to get antsy and turn it up, reducing at medium heat, more than a simmer, but less than a rolling boil.
In the biggest frying pan you’ve got, sautée the shallots, mushrooms, and thyme in 2 tbsp of the butter. The mushrooms will give off lots of moisture, so wait to add salt until they’ve started cooking down.
Once the liquid has cooked off the mushroom/shallot mix, add your 2 cups of reduced stock/wine to complete your sauce. Add salt/pepper to taste. Keep warm while you cook the pasta.
Put it all together
Get a big pot of salted water on to boil. Add your pappardelle and cook for about 3 minutes. You want them just undercooked when you add them to your sauce. Add the noodles to the mushroom sauce, toss in the last tbsp of butter and let it cook on medium or medium high for just a minute while you gently stir to finish cooking the pasta. It will absorb the excess liquid in the sauce. If it gets too dry, feel free to add a little pasta cooking water to the mix.
Place in a large serving dish and garnish with the parsley and cheese.