These creamy noodles originated in the city of Siena, which still has the look of the Middle Ages. The green noodles are the “hay,” and the white noodles are the “straw.” For a tasty variation, sauté 1 c. thinly sliced cooked ham with the peas and mushrooms and serve the finished dish as a main course.

Straw and Hay

4 oz. thin spinach noodles, uncooked
4 oz. fettucini noodles, uncooked
3 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. canned tiny peas, drained (optional)
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 c. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook noodles in boiling salted water until they are al dente. Drain and toss with half the butter. Cover and set aside.

2. Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan. Sauté garlic until golden. Spoon out garlic and discard.

3. In the same butter, sauté peas and mushrooms over low heat for 5 minutes. At the same time, heat cream in a small pan. (Do not boil.)

4. Add noodles, cream, salt, and pepper to vegetables in the large saucepan. With the pan still over low heat, toss vigorously with a long handled spoon and fork.

5. Remove from heat and quickly stir in cheese. Serve on warm plates. Pass more grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

Colorful spinach noodles and fresh mushrooms make paglia e fieno (straw and hay) a treat for the eyes as well as the tongue.