As a teenager, my real concern during finals was what to do with those long, alluring hours after exams for the day were completed. My friends and I usually opted for getting off the B9 city bus on Avenue M, where we rewarded ourselves with a yummy lunch at one of the numerous pizza shops and cafés. My absolute favorite choice was a steaming, heaping plate of creamy penne a la vodka, which I could polish off myself (although I grudgingly allowed my friends a taste). Surely after supplying myself with such a satisfying meal, I would feel well-nourished and energized enough to buckle down to another evening of late-night studying. Or not. I can remember myself all too well, doubled over in agony on my friend's plush green couch, suffering the severe effects of my pasta fiesta! The cheesy noodle dish disagreed with me so badly that I remember missing out on an entire crash course before the global studies Regent exam. Eventually, I realized that the pleasure was not worth the pain, and I acknowledged the fact that I could not eat penne a la vodka — or baked ziti or lasagna, for that matter. It wasn't until years later, however, that I discovered that my sensitivity to wheat and allergy to dairy was what caused those vicious attacks. Today, I want my family to enjoy the rich, indulgent taste of a bowl of dairy pasta without the pain, so I serve the following pasta dish for special occasions, regular suppers, and of course on test nights!
Spaghetti in Cream Sauce
- Cook & Prep: 35 m
- Serving: 6
Roasted mushroom garnish
Roasted Mushroom Garnish
To prepare the roasted mushrooms, preheat oven to 400°F. Place the mushrooms on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with oil and salt. Drizzle with mirin. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Mirin is a naturally sweet Asian marinade, made from rice, which is used like cooking wine. You can find it in a local health food store.
For the Spaghetti
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and return to pot over a low flame.
Add the oil and salt and stir. Add the milk and cheese and stir. Allow to simmer for a few minutes until well combined and creamy, stirring if necessary.
Remove from heat and garnish with the roasted mushrooms.