Albuquerque Farmers Market Pasta

On a recent trip to Albuquerque, my son and I had the great pleasure of visiting the Old Town Farmers Market. We could not resist the opportunity to buy produce and "impose" on a friend to let us prepare this pasta dish that evening. The dish turned into a fusion of Northern Italian and Northern New Mexican, a very happy combination, highly recommended by our hostess.


3 cups Oyster MushroomsChopped, not too carefully, into approximately one-inch pieces
2 cups Yellow OnionDiced, about one half inch
1 cup Red Pepper, FreshSliced into strips about 2 inches by one half inch
2 tbsp GarlicMinced, approximately 2 cloves
1 cup CornWe shucked and took the kernels off a fresh ear.
2 cups EggplantOptional; we used a tender diminutive variety, diced into one half-inch pieces; adds a good texture and finish to the sauce
4 cups TomatoesCombination of red and yellow plum tomatoes, diced into one-inch pieces; don't worry about skin or seeds
1 cup Green Chile PepperRoasted, over a fire if possible, skinned and seeded, and cut into strips two inches by one half inch
1 cup White Wine, cooking
½ tsp SaltOr to taste; if using regular wine, more may be needed
½ tsp Black PepperOr, to taste
lbs. PastaWe used fettucine
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
½ cup BasilCoarsely chopped or even just pulled apart as recommended by some chefs


1 Bring a large pasta pot full of water to a boil.
2 Have all the prepared vegetables nearby the stove. It is fine to combine in one bowl the onion, red pepper, eggplant, and mushrooms.
3 Heat a good-sized saute pan to medium high. As the pan is heating, add the olive oil and then the butter. As the butter is dissolving and beginning to sizzle, add the onion, eggplant, red pepper, and mushrooms. Give them a gentle stir but then let the mixture saute without stirring, for perhaps four to five minutes, to let the bottom layer become browned. Then lift up the mixture from the bottom so that more of the mixture can get browned as it falls to the bottom of the pan. Continue this until you can notice a good portion of the vegetable mixture getting somewhat browned and just a little crisped.
4 Add the garlic and let the mixture saute for about one minute, stirring gently.
5 Next add the tomatoes and the green chile pepper with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir well, and let the mixture continue to cook so that the liquid from the tomatoes is almost evaporated.
6 Add the white wine and continue letting the mixture cook until the liquid once again is almost evaporated. This process lets the flavors mingle and intensify.
7 At this point it would be a good time to begin boiling the pasta to have it cooked about when the sauce is ready.
8 To finish the sauce, as the pasta is cooking, add to the vegetable mixture the corn and basil, and let it cook a few minutes. The mixture is now ready. Just let it sit off the burner until the pasta is cooked to a point that it is somewhat softened but still maintains some bite. Drain the pasta, leaving about a half cup of pasta water.
9 Over a burner, mix the pasta and the sauce together, using two hefty spoons to thoroughly combine the sauce and pasta. You'll note that the pasta absorbs the sauce some. This adds wonderful flavor to the dish. As soon as the mixture is well-combined, the dish is ready.
10 I surely hope it's wonderful. We had this dish with local roasted pinon (pine) nuts (roast in a heat-proof pan in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or just until lightly browned) and freshly grated parmesan.