If you’re like me, you may have wondered in the past who buys evaporated milk, and what they use it for. I was watching TV the other day and Rose Reisman was doing some kind of cooking segment. She said you can use evaporated milk in place of cream in any recipe! I’ve been patiently waiting to try this out and tonight was finally the night. The recipe that follows is for pappardelle (wider than fettucine and made with egg) alfredo with zucchini and mushrooms. You need:
1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms or so
1 1/2 zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in semi-circles
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 cup of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
250 grams of pappardelle pasta (long, wide egg noodles), or fettuccine, or whatever you have
1 can of evaporated milk (2% worked for me)
1/4 cup of grated parmesan or romano cheese
6 leaves of fresh basil, if you have it
3 tablespoons of salt
pinch of nutmeg
Start with a big pan (you’ll end up tossing all of the pasta and sauce in it) and heat the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and zucchini and cook over medium heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the mushrooms and zucchini are a bit soft, add half of the butter and all of the garlic. Salt the boiling pasta water (I use about a palm-full) and add the pasta.
Add the evaporated milk, parmesan or romano, and the rest of the butter to the veggies in the pan. Turn the heat up to high and bring this to a simmer, stirring often. The goal is to reduce it a bit so it becomes creamier. Drain the pasta when it is al dente.
When the sauce is a little bit less runny (about the same time the pasta is done), add the pepper, nutmeg and basil (I think the nutmeg and basil are totally optional). I have to say I thought my sauce was way too runny, but when I put it over the pasta it was perfect, so don’t worry. Drain the pasta and toss it in the pan with the sauce. Serve and feel good about yourself for using milk and not cream, and about half the butter called for in regular recipes. This serves 2 very hungry people with a bowl of leftovers for lunch.