One pot + pasta = dinner in twenty minutes flat. *Insert high five*
Creamy, slightly rich, and completely comforting Straw & Hay Pasta. Have you all experienced the utter carbohydrate beauty, the soul warming culinary hug that is Straw & Hay Pasta?
This dish is a long-standing dinner tradition in my family. My dad (who is an amazing cook BTW) makes it on the regular when my sister Kristen and I are home. It was the undisputed winner of “most frequently requested” back from college meal for the Fuhr sisters, and its triumph endures to this day as it’s often the main event of our Christmas Eve family dinner.
Those of you who have yet to sample the beauty that is straw and hay pasta, let me just say, you are indeed missing out my friends.
Unlike some of its heavier pasta contemporaries (ahem: Alfredo sauce) straw and hay is lighter and filled with more complex flavors, but still hits in that comfort food sweet spot. While Alfredo sauce revels in the richness of all things BUTTER, CREAM, and CHEESE, this sauce is more about slowly layering ingredients that compliment each other.
The sauce begins, as all good things do, with butter and onions. Amen.
Mushrooms follow shortly after to soak up all that aromatic onion flavor, next comes smoked ham for some needed saltiness, then everything is simmered in chicken broth to build in more savory flavor, finally the entire mix reduces together in heavy cream to become this lightly creamy and downright heavenly sauce.
One admission: The tortellini in my straw and hay recipe is totally not traditional.
As the name might suggest, straw and hay pasta is typically made with regular and spinach flavored linguine noodles so that the colors and shape mimic those of actual straw and hay. This recipe uses tortellini because at some point my genius dad made a version with tortellini, and we all loved it so much that it became the gold standard for our family recipe. I think using two types of pasta adds an extra variation in texture that really elevates the dish.
Besides the fabulous sauce, my favorite part of this recipe is that it’s quick and simple enough to make on a weary weeknight, but it’s also luxurious and gorgeous enough to make for a nice family meal or entertaining.
A weeknight meal or entertaining accomplished with just tasty one pot = winners all around.
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Chopped Shallot (or small Yellow Onion)
- 8 Oz Button Mushrooms
- 1 C Diced Smoked Ham
- ¼ C Chicken Broth
- 9 Oz Refrigerated Spinach Tortellini
- 9 Oz Refrigerated Linguine
- 8 Oz Heavy Cream
- 2 C Water
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parsley and Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- Finely chop the onions and ham and set aside.
- Wet a paper towel and use it to gently wipe the dirt off of the mushrooms. Remove the stems and then slice the mushrooms into thin pieces.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large high rimmed pot, skillet, or dutch oven.
- Start by cooking the onions, then after a minute add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the ham to the pot; let it cook for a moment and then pour in the chicken broth.
- Once all of the chicken broth has been absorbed, add the pasta, heavy cream and water to the pot and simmer over medium high heat for 6 minutes stirring constantly.
- You'll know the sauce is done when its thick and the water is mostly absorbed by the pasta.
- Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and parsley and enjoy!