Hay & Straw (adapted from Pasta Cookbook, 1990)


One of my favorite recipes in Pasta Cookbook is “Hay & Straw”, which is the perfect complement to a broiled salmon fillet or simply prepared chicken breast.  The Hay and Straw refer to the two different colors of pasta used in the recipe – the spinach fettuccine is hay and the regular fettuccine is straw.  In practice the spinach fettuccine loses a lot of its color during cooking – for maximum effect buy a deeply colored pasta and cook the two pastas in separate pots.  Done properly, this is a rich, creamy, and colorful dish.

The original recipe makes a barrel of pasta that’s more than even my overachieving family can eat.  I’ve found that cutting the pasta in half and replacing the ham with pancetta makes for a satisfying side dish.  I will also usually throw in a cup of frozen peas so that I can call it a side dish and a vegetable.

This pairs especially well with a simple pan-fried filet of salmon, with a squeeze of lemon over both the fish and the pasta.  A grilled boneless, chicken breast would also work well.

Pasta Cookbook is no longer in print, but can be found occasionally on ebay or at Amazon here:  https://amzn.to/3nqXIJW

Hay & Straw (adapted from Pasta Cookbook, 1990)

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 30 min
  • Ready in: 40 min

Instructions

  1. Cook pastas according to package direction in separate pans. Drain. If you want the timing to line up, I recommend starting to boil water at the same time you start to saute the onion, and adding the pasta at the same time you add the pancetta.
  2. Saute onion over medium heat in 3 Tbsp of melted butter until softened and translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes, until liquid is expressed. Add pancetta and garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes, until pancetta starts to crisp and mushrooms are lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add remaining butter and cream and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened. If you're using peas add them along with the butter and cream.
  5. Combine pastas, cream sauce, and half of the Parmesan and mix well. Serve immediately, topped with remaining Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

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