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Emmy Angel Hair with Tomato Crème Mushroom Sauce

As we know from an older storyline, I'm a big fan of the annual awards shows on TV. I don't get to the cinema nearly as often as I'd like throughout the year, so prior to the Academy Awards I always end up bingeing on nominated films with Time Warner's OnDemand, which only annoys me because aside from pretentiousness and my condo board, there are few things more infuriating than paying the worst company on the face of the planet any extra hard-earned cash I have to, especially as the middle class (me) slips away from New York. But that soapbox speech is for a different type of audience.

Anyway, last night the Emmys were on, and I set up the DVR for my usual awards show trifecta - E!'s red carpet, the show itself and tonight's Fasion Police. That I have any excitement for the Emmys is amusing to my husband, because I watch about four television shows religiously, three of them are probably on the Food Network and honestly guys, who has time to watch so much TV?

Seeing that I found out a mere twenty-four hours ago about the future of my evening, which was a school night, no less, I was short on time to plan a new dinner. Somehow grilled hot dogs didn't seem appropriate when in the company of tuxedos and diamonds. Let's show some respect. Even if you would happen to be in pom pom trim shorts. I suddenly remembered that I had bought fancy mushrooms over the weekend for no particular meal in mind, so this worked out quite nicely. I stopped at the local market on my way home to pick up kale for a salad, proscuitto for the pasta and Parmigiano, too. On the top shelf of our fridge there is, in ratio to the number of people in our family (two), a fairly ridiculously sized Tupperware holding grated Parmigiano at all times and I knew it was close to empty. Allowing it to hit rock bottom would probably be akin to breaking a marriage vow in our house.

Side note - thank goodness for DVR. (This is by no means support for Time Warner! They just copied it from whoever invented it.) By the time I got home, took Peanut and Archie out for a walk, which included a stop to chat with our elderly neighbors who filled us in on the street gossip, went for a very quick run and scrubbed the day from my face, it was oh, the normal time of well past 8pm to get in the kitchen. This was fine though, because I knew the meal would work itself together quickly with minimal cook time, which is a star quality in a weeknight meal, especially when it's hot and humid.

I tore the kale leaves from their membranes, then sorted them out on a sheet of foil, seasoned with salt and pepper, olive oil and sliced almonds. As that roasted in the oven for about ten minutes, I added a small drop of olive oil to a sauté pan and crisped up serrano ham. It had caught my eye at the market and was cheaper than the proscuitto, so that's how we landed on the selection. I let both the sheet of kale and the draining serrano cool on the countertop while I started on the sauce.

In the same sauté pan, untouched, I fried sage leaves in melted butter to perfume the base of the sauce. Seasoning with salt and pepper, I added a finely diced shallot, then the chopped mushrooms, of the lobster and porcini variety. Oh yes. A spoonful of tomato paste, a dash of white wine and a couple of dollops of crème fraiche later, this was the real deal. Off went the flame and crank went the pasta machine. Once the angel hair went into the boiling water I quickly finished the salad. A raw sliced shallot, more salt, pepper, olive oil, then a once over* of red wine vinegar and honey. Done. As I pulled the pasta from the pot, the sauce was reheating with the addition of some frozen peas** in there, too. The red carpet was almost finished, as were the icy cocktails we had made to beat the heat, so Frank opened a cheapee bottle of red as we settled in for the big event.

How did it end up? Not too bad. Mad Men lost every nomination they were up for, which was no surprise since awful television seems to be the popular trend du jour, but my fellow Penn Stater took home another trophy!

As for the meal itself, well, it was hard not to enjoy. A crispy kale salad is always going to be a hit, and mushrooms in a creamy red sauce topped with pork are a quick and easy win, everytime.

*Here's an easy tip for mixing your dressing into the salad: drizzle all dressing components directly onto the leaf of choice, along with any added ingredients. Gently mix together on the foil with your hands before scooping into a serving bowl for a clean presentation. The foil is then tossed and your hands are the only tools to wash!

**I've probably mentioned this before, but I always keep frozen peas on hand. They're a super addition to any pasta dish. They'll thaw, heat up and retain their gorgeous color within minutes.

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