Cavatelli with asparagus and mushrooms
This dish was crafted around the availability of fresh asparagus. William Kovel, chef and owner of Catalyst restaurant in Kendall Square, Cambridge, says freshly made cavatelli is best for this recipe but dry cavatelli, penne, or orecchiette all work well. Don’t overcook the vegetables; they should have bite.
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, ends snapped, stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons canola oil
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 pound crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound cavatelli, penne, or orecchiette
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1. Have on hand a bowl of ice water.
2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and transfer the asparagus to the ice water. When they are cold, remove from the water and transfer to paper towels.
3. Return the saucepan to low heat. Add the canola oil and when it is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter; heat until melted. Cook the shallot, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cavatelli, penne, or orecchiette. Cook, stirring often, for 6 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pasta water and remove 1/4 cup. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
5. Tip the cooking water into the saucepan. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter. Stir well. To the pot of cavatelli, penne, or orecchiette, add the butter mixture, mushroom mixture, asparagus, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and chives. Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until the mixture is hot. Adapted from William Kovel