Here’s a great way to use up those aborted entolomas. Fra-diavolo is a classic Italian preparation, it means “devil style”, and I definitely like it spicy. You could really make anything you want, add some chili and tomato, and call it fra-diavolo. There is something special about pasta though.
I’d made plenty of spicy pastas in restaurants by the time I came to the Twin Cities, but at the old Il Vesco Vino on Selby avenue, we made one with linguine, big hunks of tomato, and seafood. Shrimp came with the basic portion, but for a couple bucks more you could add a few nice hunks of u/10 sea scallop, which was definitely worth it. It was one of the most popular dishes on the menu, and it stayed on right until the bitter end of the restaurant’s demise.
With the shrimpy texture of the aborted entoloma, I knew I wanted to try using them in a dish like this when their season came around. The sauce itself is simple, some garlic, canned tomatoes, wine and chili flakes. Since there are only a few ingredients, you need to make sure you use quality stuff-nice imported tomatoes and a great dried pasta are really important. You also need a some know how of how to treat entolomas to make them taste good too.
A deep, preliminary browning of the mushrooms is crucial to this dish’s success, and really makes the difference between a stellar pasta and a mediocre one.
All by itself, this is a spicy vegetarian pasta with mushrooms, but if you have a couple extra bucks, try throwing some shrimp, bay scallops, or whole mussels in it. There’s something about the way tomatoes marry with the juice the shellfish give, the heat of the chili and how just the right amount of butter rounds everything out at the end.
Aborted Entolomas Fra Diavolo
Serves 4 as an light entree. Some rapini or a bitter salad would be great alongside.
- 8 0unces dried linguine, preferably an imported brand like Rusticella d’Abruzzo
- 16 oz can imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp Crushed red pepper, or more to taste
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 lb aborted entoloma mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and rinsed if neccessary
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped
- Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)
- Heat a pasta pot filled with lightly salted water.
- Remove the tomatoes from the can and place into a nonreactive bowl. Squeeze the seeds out of the tomatoes into a strainer, reserving the juice. Discard the seeds. When the tomatoes have all been seeded, chop them roughly and recombine with their strained juice.
- Quarter the entolomas or halve if they’re small. Heat the oils in 10 in high sided saute pan. Add the entolomas to the pan and season with salt and pepper, cooking over medium heat and stirring occasionally until lightly golden and no juice if any remains in the pan from the mushrooms, about 10 minutes.
- Move the entolomas to one side of the pan, add the sliced garlic and a little more oil if the mushrooms soaked it up, then reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until golden brown, but not burnt, about 4-5 minutes more. Add the crushed red pepper and stir for 10 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce until the pan is nearly dry. Add the tomatoes and reserved juice, increase the heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the linguine in that salted water until al dente. Drain the linguine.
- Add the linguine, parsley and butter to the pan and cook for two minutes more, tossing to emulsify the butter.
- At this point you may need to add some water to the pan in tbsp increments if the pan gets dry and there is no sauce. When the pasta is wet and glossy, Double check the seasoning for salt and your chili tolerance.
- Divide the pasta evenly between four preheated dinner bowls, leaving the tomato-entoloma sauce in the pan. Top bowl of pasta with equal portions of the sauce and serve immediately with the parmesan if using.