Fending off death by starvation: Linguine Edition

I have had a few emails from readers complaining that I haven’t posted many cooking posts lately.

I haven’t been cooking much lately.

However, it seemed a good idea to do something a bit more interesting than a bowl of cereal tonight.  Looking at my ingredients, what occurred to me was a pasta preparation at a place in Rome much frequented by American seminarians and priests, near the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, Ristorante Abruzzi ai SS. Apostoli.

They do a tomato based sauce with mushrooms, peas, and cream.

So, I browned mushrooms and then added onion and garlic.


I added vermouth and sweated it down while adding my ground black pepper.

Then whole San Marzano tomatoes (sent by a reader from my wishlist).


I chopped them up with a spoon in the pan, keeping the heat fairly high.

I wanted to reduce them.


I had some frozen peas, which I thawed.


I would eventually want to use some panna, which you can’t get here.  So, I used this new Philly product instead.  It is fairly tangy, so taste before adding.


Because the creme stuff and the peas, as they burst in the heat, would add some moisture, I reduced the sauce well, making sure that it was pretty tight before adding the peas.  You can push the sauce away from an edge of the pan and watch to see if clearer liquid separates.


I didn’t have any chitarra, so I used linguine (sent by a reader from the wishlist).

It is al dente, ready to fight off my teeth.


In go the peas.


Time to assemble.  You can take different approaches. You can mix is all together, or pile it up and let the eater blend it.

I used some grated pecorino and ground pepper.


I would love to have had some fresh basil.   No joy.


But this was really good and so very simple.


You would want to serve this with a cold, dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.

I prepared a large portion, but then set aside half of it for tomorrow.  The rest of the sauce, without cream added, will go into the freezer, which does not look like the new appetite-ruining statue of John Paul II.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MJ says:

    Totally bookmarking this one, Fr! Gonna try this out myself. Looks GREAT!

  2. Jon says:

    And you never invite the wife and I for dinner.


  3. wanda says:

    Looks tasty! I’ve seen that cooking cream in the grocery store, but haven’t tried it yet. That last picture..mmm..I’d like to pick up that fork full and woof it down.

  4. HighMass says:

    Bouno Apetito! Fr. Z :)

  5. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I stopped trying to chop the tomatoes with a spoon when I make a sauce as they tended to become projectiles. Not lethal, but San Marzano’s are not cheap and I hated losing one not to mention the mess. So I started using a potato masher to break up the tomatoes. No flying tomatoes now, and I don’t end up talking to myself.

  6. EWTN Rocks says:

    Looks delicious Fr. Z – with or without basil! The recipe looks like a definite keeper.

  7. benedetta says:

    How did the Philly product work out Fr. Z? True we don’t have panna here…nor creme fraiche…nor even a basically good yogurt though a few of the Greek varieties are promising…

  8. benedetta: It worked pretty well in a pinch. Taste before adding to anything, however.

  9. Patti Day says:

    Gee Father, I’ve got three basil plants out on the deck. I could had spared a leaf or two. There not very large, so I’ve been judiciously pinching off a leaf here and there to promote new growth, and not denude it at the same time. Aaahhh Basil.

  10. Father J says:

    Haven’t tried it myself, but perhaps it’s worth it:


    It’s amazing what one can find on Amazon.

  11. Miseno says:

    I am going to try this out next time I have to cook. I had this dish in the above named restaurant and I enjoyed it, but I never tried to recreate it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    What about using a touch of regular heavy cream? No good?

  12. Heavy cream would work for the consistency and to soften the acidity. Give it a try!

  13. Johnofthecrumbs says:

    Father, my wife will cook it for me if we can get some idea of the various amounts of the ingrediants either in Metric, English or Apothecary measurements. Is cooking cream the same as Philladephia cream cheese? Im Hungry I love Italian Food. What is Panna? I know its not like Manna, I think. GB Ill report how good it was to eat.

  14. Maltese says:

    I cook like a fiend! Real men cook! It’s cathartic to me; it’s almost artistic. To take raw ingredients, and form something tasty is wonderful!

  15. Rosevean says:

    I think I need to practice making this for future Fridays here in the UK – as my husband is allergic to fish!

  16. It is a genuine pleasure to know that you can cook, and cook well.

    But then, this goes back at least as far as John Milton, who, in his essay On Education, said that a gentleman should know all the arts of war and peace. And I believe that Aristotle had a word or two to say on the subject as well.

  17. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’ll be making this tonight.

  18. AnAmericanMother says:

    This looks delicious, but my dear husband is allergic to English peas (indeed to all legumes. He can eat green beans if they’re cooked to death, but that’s about it.)

    Can anybody suggest a substitute?

  19. EWTN Rocks says:


    How about corn?

  20. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Made this last night – a success even though I was too conservative on the vermouth and basil and not conservative enough on the peas. Delicious, inexpensive and easy (on a par with amatriciana): who could ask for anything more?

    I’d personally steer clear of corn as a substitute for the peas. Fresh spinach?

  21. luna.shiawase says:

    Just made this with some substitutions:
    crushed tomatoes, seashell pasta, canned peas, and a different variety of spices. My dad and I had it with some Trappist ale and steak. Let me just say: this recipe is awesome! Tasted great, and I don’t think it even needed basil haha! Thanks so much for the recipe Father!

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