Ideas for making hay & straw pasta?
My husband and I recently ate at a restaurant which we both liked a lot, especially from a price and service standpoint, but he was disappointed in a dish he ordered call "Hay and Straw Pasta with Peas, Mushrooms and Pancetta in Double Cream." This was spinach and regular linguine, and the rest of it is obvious.
I'll admit he likes things very creamy and rich. He doesn't eat that way all the time, but when he goes out to eat he kind of expects the restaurant to lay it on pretty thick, so to speak.
At any rate, we both agreed that this dish was really dull. It seemed to maybe be undersalted, fairly tasteless, and the sauce was thin and boring. I promised to make it for him for his birthday, which is this weekend, and make it better. But I'm not sure how. I'm thinking along the lines of a fairly rich basic white sauce, but with lots of good quality Reggiano. And, I think pancetta is pretty much a waste of money. Also, my semi-veggie daughter in law will be coming for the birthday dinner, which adds a wrinkle. I can't use pancetta or real bacon, but thinking I might try something baconlike, but am concerned turkey bacon might not cut it. Just not sure. Are there soy substitutes that might be decent? Probably not, but thought I'd ask. If it were essential, I could also use real bacon, and just make her something else.
I would love any suggestions you might have . . . especially if you've made a version of this you love.
There's a restaurant in Jersey City that's been going strong for around four decades. One of their hose specialties is the Paglia e Fieno Pasta with Lobster & Shrimp....it leans towards an Alfredo preparation and is a house favorite. Also, in the Jersey Shore area, there's another rustic Italian restaurant that's being going equally strong for roughly the same amount of time which I recommend to a chowhounder visiting from Texas. He had a similar dish, but in a Pink Cream(Vodka) Sauce with the same Lobster & Shrimp, but with the inclusion of Fresh Asparagus. You can see his thoughts here:
My suggestion is for sea food.
I think the suggestions above are terrific and I agree that that making it punchier and more savory is probably in direct opposition to going vegetarian. But if you're willing to forgo the smoky/salty porky element, you could, I suppose, add some pecorino to the cheeses as well as some extra black pepper and go with sharper flavors to complement the richness of the creamy sauce. Also, I'd use fettuccine rather than linguine to give it a more substantial chew. I love the idea of porcini and creme fraiche or even a touch of sour cream for tang.
But yeah, I think regular bacon or even ham is probably better than pancetta, if not as "authentic."
I'm guessing the mods will be moving this to the Home Cooking board at some point.
Thank you all for great suggestions. I know, I know, I know (about the veggie in the group). Agree with the whole business about turkey bacon vs "real" bacon. So, when we get together we have six people and she is the only veggie, which does crimp my style. Very sick of chicken, chicken, chicken. But, I love my DIL and respect her food choices. She's part of our family and want to accommodate her. I'm right now inclined to ditch the meat per adido's suggestion, and go with basically an alfredo sauce. My husband doesn't know it, but I'm pretty sure that's what he's looking for. A homemade one with good cheese and cream would be good. Nice organic peas, porcini mushrooms (thank you, howard 1st) will help. Plus the pecorino and black pepper are excellent ideas (acgold7). Thank you all! Totally open to further suggestions.
(turkey bacon is more vegetarian than 'real' bacon?)
that preparation of "hay and straw" is a traditional one and features richness rather than savor. perhaps substituting cappicola or tasso or double smoked pepper bacon would 'oomph' it up. use dried porcini mushrooms (or other intensely flavored varieties) in lieu of standard ones.. white sauce is a poor substitute for double (heavy whipping) cream but creme fraiche would add a nice tang. make sure the 'white' pasta is egg-based. buon appetito!
How about traditional carbonara? Don’t use a meat/bacon substitute - it will detract from the dish. Or make something else for the vegetarian. Or a homemade alfredo sauce - no meat. Don’t make your significant other suffer on their birthday because of her preference.