Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pasta with Mushrooms, Kale and Walnuts

Dinner. Now, please. Something, anything quick. Okay, maybe not anything. Flavor matters.

We had an early evening, low-energy emergency in the kitchen and there was no plan. Aaaargh! A crisis loomed until I opened the fridge and spotted some crimini mushrooms and dinosaur kale. It had been weeks since my surgery, when RL took over cook and butler duties, and I was SO anxious to return to the kitchen.This simple pasta bowl solved the problem and was surprisingly tasty for an unplanned, no-recipe dish I could handle while moving around on crutches.  

This so-simple-you-don't-need-a-recipe combination might have been inspired by something I found on pinterest, or maybe a Facebook page, but I couldn't locate it again. Too many pins and posts, too little organization, but no problem. The improv worked out just fine; quick, easy and flavorful, PLUS I got to play briefly in the kitchen.
Pasta with 'Shrooms, Kale and Walnuts

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
A generous 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary)
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Short, ridged tube pasta
1/2 cup ricotta, divided
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
Fresh Parmesan, grated or shredded
Honey, for drizzling (optional)


Warm a serving platter or bowl in the oven.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; working in batches as necessary, cook mushrooms, onions, Italian herb mix, garlic, salt, and pepper until mushrooms are golden and give up their juices, about 12-15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. 

Add to the skillet the drained pasta, half of the pasta water, half the ricotta, kale shreds, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Add more cooking water as needed.

Transfer to the heated serving platter and garnish with remaining ricotta, walnut pieces and Parmesan. Drizzle with honey, if you like.

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