Posts Tagged ‘weeknight’

Quick mushroom cream sauce

October 23, 2014

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This is a fast weeknight dish I threw together (apparently in the dark). It’s based on another Smitten Kitchen recipe, but where she puts the resulting buttery, mushroomy goodness on perfect little toasts, I put it on some farmers’ market ravioli.

I can never quite find white bread perfect enough for tiny mushroom-topped toasts, do you have that problem? The slices would have to be crunchy AND soft, rich but not overpowering, and at least half an inch tall. I prefer whole wheat toast with my sardines. Maybe I’ll talk about sardines soon, too. ;)

    Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 pound brown (Cremini) mushrooms or whatever mix you like
2 tablespoons butter
1 tender white portion of leek, 2 small shallots or 1/2 an onion (leeks are my favorite), sliced thin
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
2 glugs cream or half and half
salt to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped chives, according to taste
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to taste

Clean and dice your mushrooms. Melt butter on medium-high heat – when foamy, add the mushrooms, salting liberally. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release some of their moisture. If using onion, add it to the pan sooner. If using shallot or leek, reduce heat to medium and cook until barely translucent.

Next, pour in the wine and let simmer, covered, for around 3 minutes. At this point, evaluate your sauce. Is it nicely reduced or too liquidy? If it needs to reduce more, remove the lid until you like the looks of it. Reduce heat to low to avoid curdling, then add your glugs of cream, stirring well to get the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan. Once your desired thickness is achieved, take the mixture off the heat and add the chives and parsley.

Toss with pasta and serve!

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Weeknight Dinners

March 10, 2014

Cooking when you don’t feel like cooking sucks. Nothing sounded good tonight, and the fridge isn’t exactly stocked, so I made pesto, which didn’t suck, because the whole thing took 20 minutes.

packed up for lunch

packed up for lunch

I had some curly kale from my most recent CSA delivery, so I put some of that under my pasta and called it a night. (After packing up the leftovers for lunch, of course!)

Pesto Ingredients:

6-8 large basil leaves

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic (or more, to taste)

olive oil

I combined all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor and pulsed until chopped small. I then added olive oil until it was the consistency I like. Bam! Pesto. Make sure to taste it to see if it needs salt or  more garlic.

I put a pot of lightly salted water on the stove and set it to boil. Once I saw bubbles, I threw in washed and chopped kale and let that cook until bright green but tender. I pulled the greens out with tongs and put the pasta in the same water to cook. Once the pasta was tender, I drained it, stirred in the pesto, and added diced ricotta salata – a cheese I’m adding to everything these days. Feta cheese would also be lovely, and if I’d had some cherry tomatoes around? HEAVEN.

Making pesto is definitely one of the those comforting things I do when I have only a smattering of ingredients. It’s especially nice that I don’t always have to use basil or 100% basil. I’ve added kale, spinach, and arugula  to the basil to stretch out the pesto without anyone really noticing much difference in taste. I’ve also made it with all arugula, which was delicious. (Mental note: buy more arugula seeds.) Once I get my Italian parsley plant up and roaring, I think I’ll try an all-parsley version. I’ll let you know how it goes.