Fratelli Perata Winery

Fratelli Perata Orecchiette with Spinach and Mushrooms

Pasta is a good thing. If you're eating Beef Wellington, you could serve it with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Or you could make a pasta side dish that has the same spinach flavors, but is hearty enough to serve to the non-beef eating friend who might be at the table. Portion control is probably key here. Orecchiette are pasta shaped like “little ears,” are from Southern Italy, but also, diplomatically, eaten in Northern Italy.

12 oz fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil for sautéing and to finish
10 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1/4 t nutmeg, ground
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 T butter
6 oz Orecchiette, dry
Parmigianno grated

Rinse spinach, sauté over medium heat with a splash of olive oil and the garlic. Remove to a clean bowl when cooked, about 5 minutes. Add another splash of olive oil, sauté the mushrooms until tender but not weeping any liquid. Add the spinach back to the sauté pan with the mushrooms, toss to blend. Add a dash of nutmeg, toss again. Add cream and butter; simmer at a very low temperature for 10 minutes. Set aside while the pasta finishes cooking.

Cook Orecchiette as directed on the package. Be sure to use plenty of water or the little ears will stick to each other and form a tower of pasta. Drain when done, add to the sauté pan of spinach and mushrooms, and toss well. Grate an ounce of Parmigianno onto the pasta, toss again. Add some pasta water if too dry. Place in serving bowl with additional cheese available on the table. Serve on its own or as a side to the Beef Wellington. A universal dish, this is great with the Tre Sorelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera...well you get it. Enjoy!