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Pasta Shells With Young Peas and Mushrooms

Make this simple and delicious dish on the days when you want something light. Add a salad, perhaps, and roasted vegetables to round out the meal.

6 quarts salted water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 cups cleaned and sliced mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake or cremini
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 1/2 cups fresh peas or defrosted and drained frozen baby peas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta shells (conchiglie)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring the salted water to a boil.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and onions and cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle them with salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until all the mushrooms have lost their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, peas and butter and season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Meanwhile, stir the shells into the boiling water. Cover the pot and reheat to boiling, stirring once or twice. When the water returns to a boil, uncover the pot. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente - tender but firm - about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot over low heat.

Add the sauce to the pasta and stir until the pasta is coated. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese. Toss well and transfer to a warmed serving platter or individual bowls. Serve right away. Makes about 6 servings.

"Lidia's Italian Table"

Thursday, February 03, 2000

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