Adventures in Pappardelle (and White Wine Reductions)

Two things: I am mildly obsessed with pappardelle pasta right now, AND I really, really love white wine reduction sauces.

I was in New York City on business and met with a consultant I work with, who’s also a really fabulous person and a friend. Well. A New Yorker through and through, he took me to an Italian restaurant that made the most delicate and light pappardelle I’ve ever had in my life.

Pasta is almost always heavy, and thick and…substantial in your mouth. But this! This was a delight with every bite. And there were sautéed mushrooms. To be honest, I can’t remember if there was a sauce. In fact, when  I think about that meal all I can see in my head are the thinnest pappardelle ribbons curling around themselves on the plate.

Fast forward. I was in New York again, a couple of weeks later (I know, it’s a hard life I live) but this time for fun. I was out to dinner with my best friends in the whole world, this time at another Italian restaurant. Highly recommended, it was a delicious meal but they served the sort of pasta I mentioned earlier – heavy. I ordered a dish of thick pasta tubes mixed with asparagus and artichoke hearts doused in a knock-your-socks-off lemon white wine reduction sauce.

So combine these two trips and I was off on a hunt. Searching for pappardelle (which is unusually hard to find) and a recipe for a white wine reduction.

I’ll save you the trouble – go to Trader Joe’s. They have dry pappardelle in regular and lemon pepper (which was really nice, not an overpowering flavor at all) in substantial portions. I’d say a bag could serve four, or two really hungry people.

I experimented with both flavors – making the regular pasta with an assortment of mushrooms I got from the market. I sautéed them in equal parts butter and olive oil until they were browned then mixed them in with the pasta and the white wine reduction. For the lemon pepper pasta I sautéed fresh asparagus, leeks and artichoke hearts, and added them to the pasta and the white wine reduction. Very simple preparation, taking almost no time at all with big, flavorful and satisfying results. Need a quick week night dinner? I’d highly recommend either of these dishes.

I’m not going to give a recipe for these because you can do this! And, there’s no wrong amount of mushrooms or vegetables to put in these dishes. But! You can find the recipe for the white wine reduction after the jump.

Enjoy :)

Lemon White Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 2 shallots, rough chopped
  • 2tbsp, butter to sauté the shallots
  • 2c dry white  wine
  • 1/2-1  stick of butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Saute the chopped shallot over medium heat in a small sauce pan with the butter until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the white  wine to the mixture and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for anywhere from 5-7 minutes, or until the wine has reduced by about half. You’ll be able to tell when you stir the mixture…it gets slightly thicker. Add the butter – listen, I won’t lie, I use a whole stick when I’m making a larger batch like this. You don’t need to, but it really adds to the flavor, clearly. While the butter melts, squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture and give it a good stir.

Pour the mixture through a strainer to separate out the shallots. Pour over your pasta dish and enjoy!

After a lot of research I found that most reductions use some chicken stock in there. Which sounds great and probably adds to the depth of flavor. Have you guys gone this route? Let me know if you have…does it make a huge difference?

2 thoughts on “Adventures in Pappardelle (and White Wine Reductions)

  1. I make a similar sauce all the time. I usually do a cup chicken stock, a cup white wine, 3 tablespoons butter and some lemon juice. sometimes i toss in a little garlic to start. So damn good

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