Friday, July 29, 2011

pasta, mushrooms, white wine.

there are many possible routes to a dish. sometimes i'm inspired to make something because of a craving for a particular herb or vegetable. other times, running across an especially appetizingly photographed recipe online can send me into manic "must-make-this-immediately" mode. still other recipe ideas emerge from a trip to the farmer's market or recalling a taste from my childhood. 

and then sometimes, as with today's dish, inspiration comes from the deep (and fearful) longing to simply not. mess. anything. up.   

not to be a (self-) tattle tale, but yours truly hasn't exactly been on a roll lately with cooking. there was last week's attempted polenta casserole which took 2 hours and ended up as runny polenta soup. and then there's the cake i've been trying to make for the past three weeks that never fails to burn to a crisp on all sides while somehow remaining uncooked in the center. (note: the two successful re-attempted versions of these recipes coming soon!)

worst of all, when my culinary genius produces something practically inedible, i'm not the only one who has to grin and eat it. hence: the choice of a simple pasta dish for dinner this week. you start by searing mushrooms on both side in a pan with some garlic flavored oil, and then adding a dash of white wine at the end. throw in some arugula, fresh herbs, and pasta. toss together and eat!

below is sort of a step by step picture of what that looks like up to the step before adding the pasta.

this dish comes from one of my favorite healthy cooking blogs, dana treat. she prepares the mushrooms as a side, but making them the feature of a pasta dish takes hardly any additional work. the mushrooms end up incredibly flavorful, and greatest joy comes from getting a big bite of one of them with some of the pasta and greens. i love the dish as it came out - the only change i might make is adding in another handful or two of arugula (or spinach) for some extra vitamins.

pasta with mushrooms in white wine

oh-so-minimally adapted from dana treat

300 g angel hair pasta
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
450g (about 1 pound) mushrooms, stems trimmed and cleaned with a damp paper towel
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 big handfuls fresh arugula
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped roughly
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped roughly
salt and pepper to taste

bring a large pot of water to a boil. salt and let pasta cook until al dente (about 3 minutes depending on your noodle). drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.

heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. coat the floor of the pan with olive oil and add the garlic. sauté until the garlic starts to brown and let off an aroma. discard the garlic.

add the mushrooms to the oil. depending on how many you have, they should just cover the bottom of the pan. give them a toss in the oil and then let them sear on one side for about 4 minutes. once they are nice and sizzly on one side, turn them over and let them sear on the other side. once the pan is dry, pour in the wine. cook, stirring often, until the wine is mostly evaporated. at this point, add in the arugula and cook for another minute or two until wilted. turn the heat down to low.

add in the pasta, parsley, and oregano. give it a good toss, adding more pasta water if it seems a bit dry. salt and pepper to taste. serve immediately.