As most of you know, I attended Eat Write Retreat this past weekend. I am (I think) one of the last attendees blogging about it–it amazes me how fast people got their review posts out. I needed time to sleep, to drive home, to sleep, to relax, to process the entire event, to sleep some more and hug my husband and girls.It didn’t help that the sinus infection from last week (which I suspect was actually strep throat because my husband tested positive 2 days later) caused me to postpone the post I had ready to go before the event except for a few last minute changes and hence it got published first post-conference, rather than a review. In a word, the conference was wonderful. I had tons of fun. I’ve heard the complaints about the bigger conferences and some of the clique-yness experienced at them. I can say I definitely did not feel that at this conference. The workshops were not all equally helpful, but they were all interesting. At no point did I feel like I was at a conference, dozing off while I was sposed to be taking notes (can you tell I have been to a few legal conferences back in my previous life?). Casey and Robyn, the ladies who created Eat Write Retreat as an interactive, more intimate East Coast event, were approachable, fabulous, responsive, everything you could hope for. Finances willing (ha!) I would take part in anything these 2 decided to do. The photography workshop had some great tips and Monica Bhide’s writing workshop was flat out phenomenal. Shauna of Gluten Free Girl and Joe Yonan of the Washington Post were 2 more great speakers, albeit panelists the following day. I got lots of great advice from Justin Schwartz, who works for a cookbook publisher, during my “Pitch to the Pros” session (no I did not pitch, I sought advice). I finally got to meet Amanda of MarocMama (my World Kitchen partner) as well as tons of other fellow bloggers. The food was outstanding, especially the tasting tour and the “Street Food” themed first dinner. One of the really fun and beneficial aspects to the conference was meeting representatives from various companies who want to work with food bloggers. They are just as enthused about food as we are, and it showed. I found olives I actually like (!! Lindsay Olives), an amazing lemon honey condiment (Honey Ridge Farms Lemon Honey Crème) and I have to include this last even though I did not meet a representative from them, Lifeway Frozen Kefir–that stuff is amazing. OXO was also a sponsor, and they filled my swag bag with some wonderful stuff (cutting board, measuring cup, peeler, etc), although the claim for the best swag of all went to Calphalon, who gave us a 12 inch Unison Griddle Pan.
Calphalon is also offering a first time ever site-wide sale to my readers (be sure to use my link, it will not work otherwise). The promotional code is C95926. Here is the fine print: *Clearance Items and Gift Certificates do not qualify. Excludes John Boos & Co. Cannot be combined with other special offers or applied to previous purchases. Terms subject to change. Offer valid through June 6th, 2011. I definitely suggest you check it out. (The promotion has ended.) Calphalon has excellent nonstick cookware, and they offer a lifetime warranty on most of it. I received the 10 inch omelet pan for my wedding and it has been a favorite ever since. One of the nicest things they did at Eat Write Retreat was the giveaways. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I hoped I would win something but was preparing myself not to. Especially because on the first night I won a hand-painted tile by Kudos Kitchen, which had been personalized to my blog (my tile is the sunflower one, see in link)! Anyway, at the main giveaway on the last night, they had something for every single person there! I won the second best thing I could have, a cookbook (because I am lusting after a mandolin and did not win the OXO one that was given away, but all of the other fancy appliances I did not need). Domenica Marchetti was one of the panelists and she had given away 5 copies of her latest book, The Glorious Pasta of Italy. Happily for me, I won it.
I should say, extra happily for me because this is a book I would have walked right by in the bookstore. Now don’t get me wrong, and I think Domenica knows where I am coming from because we’ve talked about it, but I am just not a fan of typical Italian American food. I find the alfredos bland and the marinaras give me heartburn, and it seems like everything must have one of those 2 sauces on it. Which drives me batty. And so I have a tendency to assume that most Italian cookbooks are not for me. I could not have been more wrong about this book. It is creative and authentic feeling in an Old World sense, not an Old World immigrated to New World sense, yet it also feels contemporary, as though Domenica shops at the same farmers’ market that I do. I instantly found several recipes to bookmark.
I stuck to the recipe for this first recipe with a few exceptions. I did not measure much and as a result I would lay money I used less cream and more cheese and onions than called for. And I added mushrooms and tiny amount of garlic. I did use homemade egg pasta for the dish as suggested–I used Domenica’s recipe and I’ll just let you buy the book for that recipe. But if you cannot make homemade, dried is fine.
- 4 T unsalted butter, divided
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup finely shopped red onion
- 2 bunches asparagus, recipe called for white, I used white and green, the lower third peeled and then cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 scant cup heavy cream
- heaping half cup shredded asiago fresco cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb dried fettucini or equivalent fresh
- 1/2 cup freshy grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto ham, better if from Parma, but all I had was domestic, then sliced again into chiffonade
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms, I used crimini and button, if I had had access to more wild mushrooms I would have used them
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When it is melted, add the sliced mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt. Cook until all of the liquid has cooked out of the mushrooms and evaporated, about 10-15 minutes. Toss occasionally and add a little more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil and butter in the same skillet. When it is hot, add the red onion. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add the asparagus. Toss to coat with butter and oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes.
Add the cream and asiago fresco cheese with the mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and stir the cream and cheese in. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain into a colander but be sure to reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Transfer the cooked pasta back into the pot. Dump the sauce on top of the fettuccine and add the sauce on top of the pasta. Add the Parmigiano cheese and the Prosciutto ham. Toss. Add pasta cooking water as necessary to loosen the sauce up. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkled with additional Parmigiano cheese.
Amazon affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items that I would be discussing and linking to in any case.
Looking for a collage to pin?…
Laura, I am humbled by your kind words. Thank you. I’m thrilled that you like the book, and that you see the beautiful world that I see in Italian cooking–it is so much more than red sauce/white sauce! True Italian cooking is simple, fresh, and seasonal. And it’s cooking from the heart. Thank you for including me in your EWR roundup. So glad that you made the trip to DC. Cheers, D
So happy we finally got to meet and I hope you are feeling better! I am also happy that you are enjoying this cookbook – I can’t wait to get one myself.
It was terrific to meet you! I was late getting my recap posted, too. So much to process from one weekend. I would do it all over again!
Lucky you! I flipped through a copy of Domenica’s book at the event, and it went right to the top of my cookbook wishlist. The photography is stunning, and there are several recipes I’m dying to try (including this one, actually!) – it was a pleasant surprise, actually, since I tend to find pasta cookbooks uninspiring most of the time.
PS – It was lovely to meet you this weekend. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
The Experimental Gourmand says
I agree with @Isabelle, Domenica’s book is at the top of my wishlist, too. Having lived in Italy for three years, I don’t generally buy Italian cookbooks, as I either have my own recipes or have other guidebooks to follow for specific techniques, but I’ve always enjoyed Domenica’s writings from the Washington Post. This dish looks terrific, so I’ll need to mark it down to try! Looking forward to keeping up with your blog!
Great recap, so great to meet you!
Bonnie Deahl says
Laura, Your post is lovely and I must ask..are there any leftovers? If so, I’ll be right over! I would love to read Domenica’s books. She has such passion when she speaks and truly loves what she does. I have bookmarked your blog and look forward to reading new posts. You are not alone with late blogging of last weekend’s event. When I started to write mine, it began to morph itself in more than just one post, so many are in the works because there is so much to share from EWR2011. Have a nice week! Bonnie
Betty Ann of AsianinAmericamag says
Laura, what a great recap! It was good to finally meet you and Amanda. And thanks for sharing this recipe. It sure looks yummy. Must try this one soon 🙂
Belinda @zomppa says
How fun!! Zomppa Melissa was there, but I didn’t get to come meet you! Sounds like it was great. If I HAD met you, I would have insisted on getting a taste of this on! =)