Shiitake Mushroom and Pesto Linguine with Spinach

I love mushrooms so much, that this recipe uses two kinds in this dish: your workaday standard creminis and somewhat-exotic shiitakes. These umami vessels are joined by healthy spinach, savory sun-dried tomatoes, and herbaceous, flavor-eous pesto. It’s all twirled together with pasta that makes for an easy-peasy, maximum flavor meal just when you need it.

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch
  • 3 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 4 oz. Baby Spinach
  • 5 oz. Linguine
  • 1 oz. Julienned Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Basil Pesto (See Cook’s Notes. Recipe Follows Below.)
  • 1 small plum or Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 oz. Shredded Asiago Cheese
  • Salt  and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

Bring 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander. DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA. Set aside.

While pasta cooks, brown mushrooms. Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cremini mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms to the hot pan. Stir occasionally until well-browned, 4-5 minutes.

Add shallot to pan. Stir occasionally until tender, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the spinach reserved pasta cooking water, sun-dried tomatoes, a pinch of salt salt, and ¼ teaspoons black pepper. Cook until spinach wilts, 2-3 minutes.

Add the pasta and pesto to pan and stir to combine.

To serve, add the finished pasta to a large bowl, garnishing with Asiago and sliced tomatoes.

 

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

Cook’s Notes:

Pesto is a mouthful of bright brightness. You can buy it in a jar , found in  the refrigerator section of your grocery story, but there is nothing better than making it yourself. Fresh basil can be found in abundance at farmers’ markets in the summer. Just clean, take the stems off and throw the leaves in a food processor with nuts and garlic. Dribble in the oil and you’ve got a versatile sauce for pasta, chicken or fish.

Yields 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
  2. With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

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Shrimp Scampi Florentine Pasta

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The classic Florentine preparation places the main ingredient on a bed of buttery spinach, topped with sauce and cheese and browned under the broiler. We’ve replicated the basic idea, giving you all those rich and cheesy flavors, but with less effort than a full-on Florentine. We’ve even improved it, with a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. Tip: An easier way to mince parsley? Gather them all in one hand and lay on the cutting board. Use your knife in rocking motion to cut, then turn 90 degrees and repeat until the herbs are properly minced!

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

5  ounces spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces  baby spinach, roughly chopped
¼  bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons mirepoix base or vegetable
¼ cup light cream
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 3 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. While pasta boils, cook shrimp.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until oil is shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the skillet n and cook undisturbed until seared on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip shrimp, and add shallot and garlic. Cook until aromatic, 30-60 seconds.

Lower heat to medium. Add the parsley and spinach to the skillet and stir occasionally until spinach is wilted. Add the shrimp and stir to cook until the shrimp is opaque and pink when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145ºF, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cream, Parmesan, half the pasta cooking water, mirepoix base, and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cook until sauce is slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. If too dry, add additional pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Remove the skillet from the heat and season with salt and  crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

To serve divide, the shrimp Florentine between two plates and garnish the pasta with parsley.

 Bon appétit!

Cook’s Notes:

Many chefs consider mirepoix to be the key ingredient for adding that extra umph to a dish. It’s the secret sauce; the essential ingredient; the reason your food tastes so good. Mirepoix plays an important role in flavoring soups, stews, casseroles, braised meats, and marinades.358 (1)

You can find mirepoix soup bases in the soup aisle of your local supermarket. If that is not the case you buy it online at speciality gourmet shops. Click here for the link.

To learn how to make your own mirepoix base, just click here for the link to a great teaching video.

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Chicken Lo Mein

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Did you know that March has been designated as the National “Noodle Month”?

And if you are feeling like you are running out options for take out during the COVID-19 pandemic, and you are craving something salty, something savory, but you don’t know quiet these flavors are combined into your favorite take out dish, then this easy peasy recipe is just for you. It’s Chicken Lo Mein and it is packed with oodles of noodles and veggies to keep you happy and healthy at the same time.The noodles in this dish are big on flavor without the greasey guilt that you find in most take out foods. This recipe is pretty much straight forward. It is composed of just noodles, chicken and spinach cooked in a garlicky hoisin/soy sauce and dude, it is seriously fresh!

For the most part, lo mein noodles in the ethnic foods section of most major supermarkets. However, in this quarantine kitchen pantry, I substituted the lo mein noodles with the fettuccine I had on hand. You can also use spaghetti or soba noodles. I did not have any hoisin sauce, but there was a bottle of honey barbecue sauce in the fridge, which is somewhat similar to hoisin. I am happy to report that both of these substitution worked well in this dish and it turned out just as delicious.

So, are up to honing you home cooking skills with this dish? Are you game? Ready! Set! And away we go!

 

ENJOY!

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From the Quarantine Pantry:
Soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, honey bbq sauce, fettuccine, cilantro, garlic, carrots, arugula/spinac salad mix, snow peas and chicken breasts.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:

For the Sauce:

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the Lo Mein:

8 ounces uncooked lo mein noodles

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup snow peas

3 cups fresh spinach

1/4 bunch of cilantro sprigs, optional

DIRECTIONS:

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Set the sauce aside.

For the lo mein: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lo mein noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large nonstick sauté pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil and sesame oil. Once hot, add the garlic and chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is cooked through, no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

Add the carrots and snow peas to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cooked noodles, chicken and prepared sauce to the pan and cook, stirring, until combined and the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

To serve, place in shallow bowls and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

IMG_0566 low mein.jpg

 

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