here's a challenge for you: try finding wild mushrooms (or cremini mushrooms) during the evening rush on a wednesday in hammersmith. not easy! i only had four things on my shopping list as i made my way home yesterday - wild mushrooms, parsley, chopped tomatoes, and garlic. my first attempt didn't go so well - they didn't have any mushrooms and they didn't have any parsley! so i carried on my journey and hit up my local convenience store instead. more expensive, but desperate times call for desperate measures. and while i still couldn't find some decent wild 'shrooms, i made do with the chestnut variety instead and dinner was salvaged.
both parts of our meal last night came from vegan italiano, a nice little recipe book that i've used before. one thing about this book that some people HATE is that there are no photos. but i kind of like it that way. it means you aren't trying to recreate (visually) something - rather you have to get creative and just go based on descriptions. that's refreshing, i think. my plates almost never look like the professional photographs in a cookbook! at least this way i'm not disappointed if it didn't turn out picture perfect. thank you, donna klein!
penne with mushrooms and peas
we used brown rice penne - so far my favourite type of gluten-free pasta. yes it got VERY sticky once cooked, and yes it broke into pieces a little bit when stirred with the sauce. but it had a great consistency and didn't taste "fake".
- olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 package wild mushrooms, thinly sliced (i used chestnut mushrooms and took their stalks off first)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen garden peas
- salt and pepper
- pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
- 6 ounces penne (or other short tubular pasta), cooked according to package directions and drained
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- in a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onion, stirring until softened.
- add the mushrooms and cook for another minute. add the can of tomatoes, the peas, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes (if using). bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat.
- reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture has formed a somewhat thick sauce.
- add the pasta and toss to combine. serve with the parsley leaves on top.
wilted spinach with garlic and pine nuts
as shown in the photo above
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 bag washed spinach leaves
- salt and pepper
- heat a large skillet over medium heat. add the pine nuts and cook until lightly toasted and fragrant (about 3 minutes). immediately remove from skillet and set aside.
- add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. add the garlic and lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. add the spinach and increase the heat to medium-high. cook, tossing constantly, until the spinach is just wilted.
- remove from the heat and add the pine nuts, salt and pepper. toss well to combine and serve at once.
lesson learned: we made WAY too much of the pasta last night so i have some delicious leftovers today. it was a great little dish, super quick to make, and the spinach was fantastic as well. consider it added to the repertoire.