When I said “diner's ready” after only being in the kitchen for 30 minutes, my honey replied with, “Really?!”
Homemade, from scratch comfort food does NOT need to take hours to prepare. Oh, I'm all for the long, leisurely, lovingly puttering in the kitchen for special occasions and for the awesomeness that is homemade lasagna with scratch sauce (and THAT's a whole other story!)
I made my meal around the star of the show: the pasta. It is simple but the flavors are deep and worthy of being the star. This could easily go from being a side to being the main dish, by either adding your cooked chicken or other meat and veggies to the pasta at the end, or serving it up meatless. The humble mushrooms are meaty and rich and satisfying. This dish could also be your starter for Stroganoff. Just add your cooked, sliced beef (or chicken) to the pan, omit the Parm and top with some sour cream.
Last night, I paired the pasta with a simple chicken cutlet and fresh green beans.
Mmm...it was a hit and even Charmin approved (see her sneaky little face checking out the goods!)
Rich Mushroom Pasta
Makes 4 Side Dish Servings (double the recipe if using as a main dish)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (4 large white mushrooms and 4 large cremini, aka “baby portobello” or “baby bellas”
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed with a garlic press
a couple grinds of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 T olive oil
3 T butter, divided
dash of salt
8 oz fettuccine pasta, broken in half (for gluten free pasta, I love Tinkyada brown rice fettuccine)
another dash of salt
3/4 C fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/8 C milk
Clean the mushrooms by brushing them off with a dry paper towel.
Slice them and place in a large, high-sided skillet. Add the pressed garlic and black pepper.
Drizzle with the olive oil. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 minutes until softened. Stir in 1 T of the butter. Add a dash of salt and set aside off the heat.
Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Rinse in cold water, drain. (see my note about the energy saving method)
Heat skillet over medium heat. Push mushrooms to each side of the skillet, making an open area in the middle. Add the remaining butter to the open area, top with drained pasta and dash of salt.
Gently toss the pasta in the butter as it melts and reheat the pasta until it's very warm. Incorporate the mushrooms into the pasta.
Drizzle with milk. The milk will soak into the pasta and give it a slight creaminess. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Turn the burner down to low, cover skillet and let cheese melt. It's difficult to mix in the Parm (it gets stringy) so I just let it melt on top.
Top with sliced green onions. This is easiest to serve with a pancake turner/spatula, so not to disturb the cheese too much.
Note about the pasta:
I like to use the “energy saving cooking method” as stated on the Tinkyada pasta package:
Bring water to a boil, add your pasta. Cook and stir over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the burner. Keep the pan on the burner, but turn if off. Cover the pot and let cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. You'll have perfect al dente pasta ready to proceed with the Rich Mushroom Pasta.