This was a tasty, simple and attractive dish. I used penne pasta instead of rigatoni and followed another reviewer’s suggestion by using heavy cream instead of half and half. The heavy cream produced a rich sauce, although it was still a bit thin. Next time I can skip or alter the step of adding 1/2 cup of pasta water reserved on the plate. I will also try a mixture of mushrooms, the addition of a shallot, and some white wine to complement the balsamic vinegar. I appreciate that this recipe offers an attractive base that one can easily garnish according to one’s specific taste.
12 oz. of rigatoni
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 pound of sliced cremini mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red bell pepper flakes, and more to serve.
Freshly ground black bell pepper
1/2 c. half and half
1/2 c. of grated Parmesan cheese, and more to serve
6 c. small packaged spinach
In a large pot of saltwater, cook the pasta until al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Reserve ½ cup of water for the pasta. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown in places, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the vinegar and red bell pepper flakes to the pan with the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook, over medium-high heat, stirring, until vinegar evaporates, about 2 minutes.
Pour in half and half and add the Parmesan, stir to combine. Add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt. Add the cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water to the pan. Cook, stirring, until everything is covered with sauce, about 2 minutes. Remove the frying pan from the heat, garnish with more parmesan and more red bell pepper flakes. Serve hot.