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Kornelia Santoro

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Newsletter Nr. 6 'Pasta with mushroom cream sauce'
Tuesday, September 21, 2010  8:44:00 PM

by Kornelia Santoro

A recipe for pasta with mushroom cream sauce with information about Grana and Parmigiano cheese.

'Kornelia's Kitchen' with
mushroom cream sauce:
 as smooth as silk
When the monsoon hits Goa, nature seems to awake with a sigh of relief: Finally the dry, hot months have gone and water flows from the sky in abundance. All plants respond enthusiastically to this change. Especially mushrooms appreciate the humid climate.
My son Valentino – often mentioned in my quest for healthy living – in general does not like vegetable. There are very few varieties I can make him eat. One year ago however, he discovered his love for mushrooms. Since then I try to cook mushrooms at least once a week. There are 2 recipes I prepare a lot: Marinated mushrooms (check and Mushroom-Cream-Sauce for Pasta.
This creamy sauce is one of the classics of Italian cooking. Variations of it you can eat all over Italy using all kinds of mushrooms – the famous porcini and other European varieties. Normally I take white button mushrooms for this recipe, which are available in the market all year round. For information about nutritional value see .
Feel free to use whatever kind of mushroom you fancy: There are some local varieties in Goa which look quite interesting. Sometimes I make this sauce with dried mushrooms: Before cooking them, I give them a good boil in some salt water, and then I cut them into pieces and use them like normal mushrooms.
One thing however you cannot alter in this recipe: You need cream, butter and olive oil. The sufficient amount of healthy fats makes this sauce as smooth as silk. If you want, you can use more cream and butter; just don’t put less – with this recipe you have to forget counting calories.
Wishing you happy cooking, always!
Kornelia Santoro with family                                   

Pasta with
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
1 packet pasta (500 grams), 2 packets mushrooms (200 grams each), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 1 packet (0.2 liter) cream, 1 glass milk, 5 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour
How to make Pasta with Mushroom-Cream-Sauce:
Take the butter from the fridge to soften it and then start cleaning the mushrooms. I usually pull away the skin with a sharp knife to be sure they are really clean. Sometimes it is enough to just wash them. Don’t soak them in water, just rinse them. If you leave them in water, they will absorb it and turn soggy. Cut them at the last possible moment before cooking them. They tend to discolor like potatoes.
Clean the onions and the garlic and chop them finely. Put the olive oil into a big pan and heat it. Fry the onions for at least 5 minutes. They should turn soft and glassy. While the onions are frying, cut your mushrooms. Add the smashed garlic and the sliced mushrooms to the onions and stir everything well. Let the mushrooms cook until they have given out almost all their water.
During this time, put the butter into a cup and combine it with the flour. You should obtain a smooth cream. Once the mushrooms have cooked, pour the cream and the milk into the pan. Bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat and stir the flour-butter-mix into the sauce vigorously. There should be no lumps. Let the sauce boil for another 3 minutes, salt and pepper according to taste.
Boil the pasta according to the instructions. Your Mushroom-Sauce should have a creamy consistency without being too thick so it can coat the pasta easily. If it has turned out too thick, just add some spoonfuls of the saltwater from the pasta and stir well.
Drain the pasta, mix it immediately with the sauce and serve with plenty of grated Parmigiano or Grana cheese.
Parmigiano and Grana: Often copied, never equaled
There are two Italian cheeses we simply cannot live without: Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana di Padano. When you serve pasta, normally you sprinkle it with freshly grated Parmigiano or Grana. Both cheeses taste pretty similar and are protected with the European seal of 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata' (name of controlled origin). That means it is forbidden to call any other cheese Parmigiano or Grana.
Of course this does not keep dairies all over the world – many of them in India – to produce “Parmesan”. If you see this word stamped on a packet of cheese you know it is a copy. In the futile attempt to save money I have tried these cheeses – to no avail. They just don’t taste right.
Luckily nowadays in India many supermarkets offer both Grana and Parmigiano, imported from Italy. Although they are quite costly, one piece lasts for several pasta dinners. Just make sure your family does not dig into this cheese when they feel like a snack. (Sometimes I discover my husband with a guilty expression in front of the fridge, holding a piece of Parmigiano). Honestly, I cannot blame him. They taste delicious.
Parmigiano and Grana are made in Italy for at least 800 years. According to his biographers the French playwright Molière, reached a point where he used to eat only this cheese.  Parmigiano, also called the king of cheeses, is produced in the provinces of Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma and in some part of Bologna and Mantova. Grana di Padano refers to the valley Pianura Padana, which covers a much wider area than the Parmigiano region.
Both cheeses need at least 8 months to ripen and they can last up to 2 years under the right conditions. Although they are similar, the younger Grana cheeses are less crumbly and milder in flavor than their more famous longer-aged relative. Grana Padano is widely considered inferior in quality than Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, I don’t taste a big difference. Both go equally well with pasta.
16 liters of milk produce 1 kg of Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana. Their cylindrical wheels are branded with a fire iron. This indelible mark certifies and guarantees quality and origin. Like any hard cheese, Parmigiano and Grana offer plenty of calcium, phosphorus and proteins the human body can easily absorb. Nutritionists recommend them also for their various active lactobacillus cultures which help our digestive system.

'Kornelia's Kitchen'

 More News about Kornelia Santoro
Newsletter Nr. 5 'Piggy Moons' - 9/21/2010 8:38:00 PM

Newsletter Nr. 4: asparagus - 5/30/2010 12:17:00 AM

Newsletter Nr. 3: Chicken-Pesto-Rolls - 4/9/2010 9:11:00 PM

Newsletter Nr. 2: Choco-Coco-Muffins - 4/9/2010 8:59:00 PM

Newsletter Nr. 1: Red beans salad - 2/7/2010 10:33:00 PM

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