A few weeks have passed since Oktoberfest and the ever so popular beer is gaining in even more popularity in places that hardly used a trickle of the stuff before. While sales of mass-produced beers have been faltering, craft beer sales have been rising. There are more micro and nano breweries popping up all over the world.
In Italy, it is being served in place of wine at meals more regularly and in watering holes. Of course there was always beer in Italy, but it always took a backseat to wine. And cooking with beer has become just as popular. I was hesitant when recently asked to develop recipes for an Italian beer company, but never realized how easy it is to cook with beer. It is even more economical most times than coking with wine.
In all my recipes I use mainly darker malt beers that work with stronger tasting foods, like beer with sauteed peppers and beer with sauteed mushrooms, using beer in place of white wine. For the home cook, the recipes are easy to follow and beer is usually conveniently available in your fridge.
When you cook with beer, just like when you cook with wine, you should serve it with that very brew that you used in the food. As mentioned, the best beer to use in this recipe is a dark malt to get the best results but you can certainly try it with whatever you have in the fridge to make it a quick, easy experience. Beer with pasta, who would have thought? But here's a delicious dish using fusilli pasta and beer.
1 lb fusilli pasta
½ cup cream
1 lb mushrooms (cleaned, stems removed, sliced)
1 clove garlic
1 cup beer
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated or shaved
Place olive oil and garlic in saute pan over medium heat, cook till garlic starts to turn golden. Add mushrooms and saute till tender. Add cream and broth. Stir and let simmer on low for three minutes, then add beer and continue to simmer, stirring every so often until sauce is thick and a creamy consistency.
Meanwhile, cook fusilli till al dente. Serve topped with mushroom/beer sauce and top with grated cheese.