Pennette with Asparagus and Cremini Mushroom

Last Sunday – Father’s Day – I surprised my husband with reservations for dinner at Zucca Trattoria, now possibly one of my favourite restaurants in the city. They serve really good and creative hand-made pastas.

When it comes to deciding where to take our kids out for dinner, if a restaurant dedicates a sizeable part of its menu to pasta, we are immediately sold. The only exception is when we want to go out for Japanese food – any Japanese restaurant will work for our children; they live for that cuisine.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by an appetizer we had at Zucca, which was a salad of asparagus spears and thinly shaved mushrooms, served on a bed of arugula, and generously dressed with a light, lemony vinaigrette. The salad had heft (we were not just eating limp leaves – hate that kind of salad), yet was refreshing and light at the same time due to the lemon.

I have this annoying habit of trying to recreate in my kitchen an awesome meal I had in a restaurant. I know, I know, the meal was awesome because it was prepared by real chefs! But I give it my best shot and often times, I end up with something that brings back fond memories of the delicious meal that we had, which, I suppose, is the most meaningful part of the whole exercise.

Thus, I imported the main ingredients and flavours of the unforgettable salad  that I had committed to memory into this pasta dish. Even though the result was worlds away from the point of origin – an appetizer salad that morphed into a main course pasta dinner – what mattered most was that we had a tasty plate of pasta in front of us that reminded us of the wonderful time we had on Father’s Day.

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