A twist on weeknight-easy: campanelle pasta with mushrooms and peas

Elegantly shaped campanelle pasta scoops up peas, cream, bits of bacon and even mushroom slices in this weeknight-quick meal.

Blue Kitchen
Campanelle pasta – Italian for little bells – brings more than beautiful frills and curves to the table. It beautifully scoops up sauces and flavorful bits. Peas and bits of bacon, in this case.

In moving into our new old house and trying to organize our large, messy pantry – still very much an ongoing project – we discovered one thing. We buy a lot of pasta. Long pastas, from slender capellini to spaghetti to linguine and fettuccine. And a dazzling array of short tubes and twists, from prosaic penne rigate to exotics like Vesuvio and trofi to in-betweens. Like the campanelle in this recipe.

Campanelle – Italian for little bells – brings more than beautiful frills and curves to the table. It beautifully scoops up sauces and flavorful bits. Peas and bits of bacon, in this case. Sauces cling nicely to its surfaces. And you can find it in most supermarkets.

This recipe is one of those user-friendly midweek solutions – quick and easy to assemble, and any leftovers heat up nicely the next day. You can multiply it, too.

Campanelle with Mushrooms and Peas
 Serves 4

6 slices bacon (see Kitchen Notes)
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil (or a mix of both)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (see Kitchen Notes)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 or 4 tablespoons port
1-1/4 cups frozen peas (see Kitchen Notes)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
cream, optional  (see Kitchen Notes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces campanelle pasta (see Kitchen Notes)

1. Sauté the bacon until it is browned, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out the pan.

2. Add olive oil or butter (or a mix) to the pan. Toss in the mushrooms and garlic, turn them to make sure they are coated with the oil, add the port, cover and cook for 8 minutes – this is basically the Julia Child style mushroom recipe without the parsley.

3. Meanwhile, cook the campanelle according to package instructions, drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and reserve.

4. Crumble the bacon into modestly sized bits and add to the cooked mushrooms in the pan.  Heat through. Add in the pasta and stir. You want there to be enough liquid to lightly cloak the pasta, not create a flowing sauce. If there is not quite enough liquid, carefully add in dashes of the pasta water, a bit at a time. Stir in the frozen peas, cover the pan and heat over medium-low for a minute or two, just until they are thawed and warmed.

5. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir lightly. Finally, add the cream, if you wish to use it (from a splash to up to 1/4 cup). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Make sure it’s the temperature you want, and there you are. It’s ready.

Kitchen Notes

Campanelle pasta is very nice with this dish and also visually pleasing, but if you don’t have it, a tubular pasta like ziti or something twisty like fusilli will do just fine. Not the tiny elbow macaroni, though, nor the huge manicotti tubes.

Bacon. No substitutes here. Turkey bacon? Facon? no, and no. If you really, really want to not use real bacon, then don’t use it. But don’t try to fake it either.

Like fancier mushrooms? Use any mushrooms you happen to have—or happen to crave. I would love to try this dish with chanterelles.

Cream? No cream? You can use just a dash of cream or be more generous. You can use half and half. Or you can entirely omit this step.

Fresh peas? Sure. We love fresh peas. Just cook them a little bit longer.

Related post on Blue Kitchen: Fresh peas star in Fettuccine with Peas and Prosciutto

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