Vegetarian Chap Chae for Mom

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A short time ago, we held the 5 year anniversary of our mom’s passing. And for a long time, the siblings and our dad tossed around a lot of different ideas on how we would commemorate Mom. But at the end of the day, it all came down to focusing on what was important to her—-Family and of course, Good Food.

So, on a beautiful and sunny Southern California day, the clan gathered. Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Children, Grandkids (including Canine Grandkids) all converged upon my sister’s home to honor Mom. We spent time with each other, retold stories of her, cooked, and ate. And boy, did we eat!

It was all quite fitting actually. Mom was the head Foodie of our family and irrefutably the best cook. If we didn’t have a delicious spread for the party held in her honor, she would not have been a happy camper!

Vegetarian Chap Chae

One of the things that made Mom such a Foodie was her wide range of taste and her fearlessness to experiment in the kitchen. In the latter years she went through a big Korean phase—and I’m not only talking about Korean cuisine. I would often come for a visit and find my parents watching Korean soap operas—without subtitles! They claimed they could still figure out the storyline despite the fact that they didn’t understand the dialogue. Go figure.

It seemed fitting that one of my contributions for Mom’s international menu would be Chap Chae–a dish she would often make for Dad and their friends.  I went the vegetarian route but it’s just as easy to add beef, pork, chicken or seafood.

All in all, I think we did Mom proud. I’m sure she would have preferred for us to bicker less during the preparation but hey—we’re her kids! We love, we laugh, we bicker, we eat. :)

We love and miss you Mama!!

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Vegetarian Chap Chae (Jap Chae)

Ingredients:

1 Pound Sweet Potato Noodles
½ Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Medium sized Carrot, julienned
2 Small Shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, julienned
2 Scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Cup Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup Inoke Mushrooms, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 Cups Fried Tofu, cut into long strips
2 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, washed well and drained
¼ Cup Mirin
Black Pepper
½ Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

In a large pot, boil the noodles until firm–about 5-6 minutes. Strain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles about 4-6 inches in length.

In a small bowl, stir the sugar into the soy sauce until dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a large wok, with the vegetable oil. Add in shallots, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms and stir fry until tender. Add in tofu, garlic, scallions, spinach and cook for an additional minute. Use the mirin to deglaze the pan and then season with black pepper. Quickly toss in the noodles and half of the soy sauce mixture. Stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle in the sesame oil. Taste and add in more of the soy sauce mixture as needed.  Plate the Chap Chae and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

I’m kind of in love.

With this soup, that is.

It’s warming and fulfilling with tons of veggies, beans, sausage, and pasta. I also threw in some beautiful Swiss Chard at the end for some added texture and flavor— but any type of dark, leafy green could do the trick. Extra veggies never hurt a gal, right?

Depending on how you like the consistency of your soup, you can either add or limit the amount of chicken broth. I personally like mine on the soupier side so I can dunk some crusty bread in.

But one thing is for certain. No matter how you prefer it, this Pasta e Fagioli is the ultimate comfort food.

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Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Cup White Onion, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Carrots, diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 28-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
1 15-Ounce Can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth, or more depending on desired consistency
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Dried Bay Leaves
¾- 1 Cup Macaroni Noodles, or other short pasta
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 Cups Swiss Chard, cleaned and roughly chopped
Kosher Salt and Pepper

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat. Continue browning until the sausage is barely pink. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté until the vegetables have softened. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes with its juices and Cannellini beans. Add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves. Partially cover and bring the pot to a boil. Remove the lid and stir in the pasta. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until pasta is al dente—about 10-12 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Stir in the cheese and Swiss Chard. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Orecchiette Bolognese

Orecchiette Bolognese

Weekends are for slowly cooked meals.

Meals that emit utterly delicious aromas throughout your home for hours that once it’s finally finished cooking, you can barely wait to tear into it. And when you take that first bite, you just know that it was totally worth the wait.

This Bolognese fits that bill perfectly. Utterly rich, savory, and meaty.

I like serving this with Orecchiette because it’s the type of pasta that can hold up to such a hearty sauce and envelopes the meaty goodness. Yup…I said “meaty goodness” but you can use whichever type of pasta that tickles your fancy.

And although this Bolognese does take some time to make, it freezes beautifully. So make a double batch and store the extra in your freezer for a tummy warming, weekday dinner.

Now excuse me as I lick my computer screen :)

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Orecchiette Bolognese
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 Pound Ground Beef
½ Pound Ground Veal
1 Cup White Onion, finely minced
1 Cup Celery, finely minced
1 Cup Carrots, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Dried Red Chili Flakes (or less depending on your heat preference)
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Cup Milk or Cream
1 Cup Dry Red Wine
1 28-Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Pound Orecchiette Pasta, cooked al dente
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until softened but not browned. Add chili flakes and sauté for an additional minute. Add beef, veal, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces.  Once the meat is no longer pink, add thyme and bay leaves. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the milk has evaporated and only clear juices remain—about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the wine has evaporated—about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil, then place the heat at the lowest setting. Continue on this very low simmer for 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes until you get a rich, thick meaty sauce. Check for seasonings and add kosher salt and pepper accordingly.

Toss the cooked Orecchiette in the Bolognese sauce and serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley and Enjoy!

Celebrating our Blogoversary with Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta!

Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta

I still can hardly believe it…..

Today, is our 2 year Blogoversary! And on 11.11.11 to boot!

Uni (Sea Urchin)

Over the past two years, I have loved this space that has allowed me to share my voice and Foodventures with you. But above all, I am so thankful for the overwhelming encouragement and support I have received from my family, friends, and the fabulous food community. Awww shucks gang….y’all are awesome.

By the way….stay tuned next week for a pretty neato giveaway I’ll be hosting to show my appreciation :)

Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta

In honor of our 2 year Blogoversary, I wanted to indulge and use one my favorite things in a decadent pasta—UNI!  And what better way to celebrate, right?

The super unctuous texture of the uni with its fresh sea flavor is the perfect pairing with linguine. Of course you could use any long strand pasta you choose but I like the slightly thick noodle so that it can hold more of the rich sauce. Sooo good! And you know what’s even better? This delicious pasta can be done in 15 minutes! Perfect if you need to make an impressive dish but not have a lot of time.

But be warned…this pasta is not for the faint of the heart. It’s the real–super rich–super decadent deal!

And with that Dear Friends….here’s to many, MANY more years of Foodventures together!

xoxo….

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Uni (Sea Urchin) Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:

¼ Pound Linguine, or pasta of your choice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
¼ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
5 Ounces Fresh Uni (or one tray)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, finely diced
1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
Seasoned Nori (seaweed), chiffonade
Kosher Salt and White Pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the olive oil and butter together. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in chili flakes and heavy cream. Bring to a slight slimmer and add all but 4 pieces of the uni. Remove from heat and whisk items together until the uni has broken down into the sauce. Toss in the cooked pasta until the noodles have been evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Plate the pasta and place the remaining whole uni segments on top.  Sprinkle the tops with chives, sesame seeds, and nori. Serve immediately.

Zaru Soba and Memories of Japan

Zaru Soba

In 2006, I spent a whirlwind 5 days experiencing Japan.

Not knowing when the next opportunity would arise for me to visit the country, I was determined to see, feel, experience, and of course EAT as much as I could.

Over the course of 5 days, I visited the cities of Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Kishigawa. That’s  over 1,200+ miles back and forth—-thanks to my Japan Rail Pass.

I attended a major league baseball game, walked around the Hiroshima Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Dome, traversed the busy subways & shops of Tokyo, prayed in shrines, sang at a karaoke bar, stayed at a hostel/ryokan, got lost—A LOT, biked around the streets of Kyoto, attended a Donjiri Festival, meandered around the different hamlets, and above all –engaged with the people of Japan. Needless to say, I barely nicked the surface.

Zaru Soba

But by far, my most precious memory of Japan was when I met Yushiko in Kyoto. That day, my friend Kate and I rented rickety old bikes to explore the old imperial city. As we were wandered around a part of the city infamous for old temples, we spotted a tiny, older woman sweeping the steps of a temple. She looked up as we went by and smiled. After exchanging a few greetings, she stopped and pointed to me and said “Japanese?” I said no, and responded “Vietnamese”. She laughed and began trying a few words in English. It turned out that the “temple” was not a temple at all but was her home. We later discovered that Yushiko was 94 years old (though she looked at least 15 years younger than that!) and that the home belonged to her late husband’s family line.

Yushiko invited us to come in and to view her garden. I was floored and so excited by her generosity. At one point, she motioned us to go through this old wooden door through a stone wall. We didn’t know what to expect but as I pushed the door which looked like it hadn’t been used in years, tears swelled up in my eyes. It was amazing– just as how I would have imagined the “Secret Garden” would look like. It was so peaceful and serene. Kate and I stayed in there for a few minutes just marveling at the beauty around us and feeling so lucky that this kind soul had invited us into her home.  We stayed and chatted with Yushiko for nearly 30 minutes and although she said she was “too old” for us to take photos with her– I just know that I will never forget her face and the precious time we spent with her.

 

 

A quick snapshot of Yushiko’s garden and home. Trust me, the photo does not do justice at all.

Of course it just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention any of the food we encountered during my time in Japan. And OH…THE…FOOD.

 

 

Japan 2006 Collage

Noodles, Sashimis, Bento Boxes, Donburis, Sweets, Sakes, and snacks of all kinds. Oh man….my mouth is watering just thinking about it all.

Soba Noodles

 

 

Since we’ve been having such warm weather lately and because my travel bug has been itching like crazy, I decided to make one of the dishes I ate a ton of when I was in Japan–SobaSoba are noodles made of buckwheat flour and can be served either hot or chilled–-Zora Soba is my personal preference.

 

 

Dashi

At the heart of Zaru Soba is the tsuyu–or dipping sauce. The tsuyu is a pungent mixture of dashi, shoyu, and mirin but its strong flavors matches so well with the mild soba noodles. You can definitely make your own dashi broth but I kind of “cheat” and use instant packets. Go ahead…judge me all you like :)

Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba is typically served with tons of nori, scallions, and wasabi. I also like to have a side of tempura with it for a offset of temperature and crunch. Oishii!!!

But one thing is for certain….Whether hot or chilled, loud slurping while eating your Soba is mandatory. True Story.

<Sigh>….I miss Japan. And until I can find my way back to the beautiful country, I will have to console myself with Nihon goodies such as ramen and this soba.

And for the immense generosity and experiences I had in Japan–-Arigatou gozaimasu!

Kyoto: 2006Snapshot of me on a bridge in Kyoto after a full day of biking around the town.

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Zaru Soba
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 Package Dried Soba Noodles (approximately 9 ounces)

Tsuyu (Dipping Sauce):
1 Tablespoon Dried Dashi Soup Stock (or Dashi packets)
¼ Cup Low Sodium Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
¼ Cup Mirin
2 Cups Water

Accoutrements:
½ Cup Scallions, chopped
Seasoned Nori, sliced
Wasabi
Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables (optional)

Prepare the tsuyu. In a small saucepan bring the water to a slow boil. Add dashi soup stock and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add shoyu and mirin and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or accordingly to package instructions. Drain the soba and rinse well with cool water. Shake of the excess water and plate the noodles. Top with nori and serve with scallions, wasabi, and tsuyu.

Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

I was thrilled at the chance to participate in this month’s 24×24 with Foodbuzz—particularly since the theme was focused on budget friendly meals. And not only did our meal need to be budget conscience but we had to use items already found in our pantries. Sounds like the making of a good cooking show to me.

I began thinking of things that I ALWAYS have on hand either in my cupboards or fridge and came up with the following things:

  1. Dried pastas
  2. Fresh Garlic and Chili (whether chili sauce, paste, or even fresh chili peppers)
  3. Some type of protein in the freezer (usually shrimp or chicken)
  4. Canned vegetables
  5. Condiments (Remember, I’m a condiment monster.)
  6. Booze (Um……self explanatory.)

With that list, it became a no brainer for me………. I was going to make some type of pasta for this challenge.

 

 

Nini and Nina_9.24.11

I decided to make Ginger Peanut Noodles for lunch with my nieces and served it with some spicy grilled prawns. Stephanie and Nina are always such willing taste testers for my experiments. And don’t let their age fool you, they’ve got quite the refined palettes. Oh—and in case you missed the photo above, Bella was trying to squeeze in on the taste testing, too.  She heard “peanut butter” and came running.

I’ve made these Ginger Peanut Noodles on several occasions with just items pulled right out of my pantry. The type of noodle can be substituted with whatever you have on hand as I’ve used spaghetti, fettuccine, and even chow mein—anything goes! For this particular preparation we happened to have some red bell pepper which added great texture and freshness. However, thinly sliced cucumber, zucchini or even bean sprouts would be great in it, too.

Bella is still focused on the fact that I just said “peanut butter”.

 

 

Bella_9.24.11

 

 

As for the protein, I happen to prefer prawns with this but chicken, pork, or even tofu would be just as delicious. Just use the same marinade for whichever you choose.

 

 

Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles

This entire meal comes together in about 30 minutes and is perfect for a weeknight dinner or when you’re short on time during the weekends.

Fast? Budget friendly? Yummy?

Now that is a Trifecta of Goodness.

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Spicy Prawns with Ginger Peanut Noodles
Serves approximately 6

Ingredients:

Prawns:
1 Pound Prawns, shelled, deveined with tails on
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Chili Sauce, or chili sauce of your choice
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Noodles:
¾ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/3 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1½ Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1½ Tablespoons Sambal Chili Paste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
½ Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
¼ – ½ Cup Hot Starchy Water (from boiling the pasta)
1 Whole Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
2 Scallions, cut into 1 inch strips
1 Pound Linguine
*Top with ¼ Cup Toasted Sesame Seeds and ½ Cup of Crushed Roasted Peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook linguine noodles barely over al dente.

Combine the prawns with all of its marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

In a blender, combine the first 10 ingredients of the noodles together. Blend until smooth. Add the starchy liquid from the pasta water until you reach the desired consistency—about ¼ – ½ Cup. Set aside.

Bring a grill pan or a large skillet to medium high heat. Lightly cover with cooking spray and cook prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side until they are opaque and golden. Remove to a clean plate and cover.

When then noodles have cooked, drain well and return to the hot pot. Ladle in a few spoonfuls of the peanut sauce at a time until the noodles have been thoroughly coated. Toss in the scallions and bell pepper slices. Plate with a mound of the peanut noodles, prawns, and sprinkle the tops of each plate with sesame seeds and crushed peanuts.

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls

“I love Pasta…… I love Pasta…..I love Pasta…….Yea, yea, yea, yea!”

In case you didn’t get that….that was my “pasta song”.  I’m a horrible singer and I really don’t like karaoke.  But I just adore pastas so much that I just have to sing it out sometimes.

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls

One day I came home from work to find a box sitting at my front door. And in that box, there were PASTAS!!!!!!!

Oh yes—it was a red letter day. :)

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls

Thanks to , I had lasagna sheets and penne rigate at my disposal! They feature pastas that are lower in carbohydrates, high in fiber—and most importantly, delish!

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls

I took this opportunity to make lasagna rolls filled with spinach and sausage. Rolls are a fun way to change up traditional lasagnas and since the edges are usually my favorite part (due to the extra crispiness) rolls are the perfect way to go.

And on that note…..

“I love Pasta…… I love Pasta…..I love Pasta…….Yea, yea, yea, yea!”

Yeah….I should just stick to cooking.

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Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls
Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 lasagna sheets
¼ cup shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ pound Italian sausage
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
¼ cup goat cheese
¼ cup cream cheese
3 cups marinara sauce
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
kosher salt
olive oil

Soak the lasagna sheets in hot tap water for 8-10 minutes or boil the pasta sheets for 1/2 the time listed on the box.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté shallots until they are translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the sausage to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces.  Once the meat is no longer pink, add the spinach, thyme and chili flakes. Season with kosher salt. Remove pan from the heat and add goat cheese and cream cheese. Stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and drain the lasagna sheets. Spread about one cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Set aside.

Spoon/spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the spinach-sausage mixture across each lasagna sheet. Carefully roll up each sheet and place the rolls, seam side down inside the baking dish. Cover the tops of each roll with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

To serve, warm up the remainder of the marinara sauce. Add a few spoonfuls to the bottom of the plate and place rolls on top.

*** I received to sample, however, all views and opinions expressed are my own.***

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Pesto is one of those things that is so versatile and can be made a gazillion different ways.

By switching up the types of nuts used or greens/herbs, you can alter the flavor of the pesto—giving your old favorites a new makeover.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

I happened to be strolling through my local farmers market the other week when one of the produce stands was getting ready to close up shop for the night. The vendor was selling the remainder of his produce for a ridiculously cheap price and I somehow managed to walk away with two HUGE bags of fresh arugula for only a dollar. A DOLLAR!!!!!

The arugula was so fresh and delicious but I couldn’t finish it all. Not wanting my arugula to go bad before I could use it up, I decided to throw some of it in to make a version of pesto for some pasta. DEE-LISH.

The arugula offered an additional peppery flavor to the dish— not to mention the extra Vitamin C and potassium I was getting by enjoying the dark leafy green.

In addition to using it in pastas, this pesto would be wonderful over grilled proteins, mixed in with hummus, or even over pizza.

Speaking of pizza and pesto— Watch out for my next post where I share another variation of pesto to make a delicious pizza!

Have a great week, Friends!

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Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken
Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 Grilled Chicken Breast
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
¼ Cup Shallots, sliced
½ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
1 Cup Arugula Pesto
1 Pound Farfalle Pasta, cooked al dente, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Arugula Pesto:
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

In a large and heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and shallots until tender. Add chili flakes. Add the freshly boiled pasta to the pan and toss. Add pesto and toss to coat all items thoroughly. Add in a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want a “looser” sauce consistency (optional). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate pasta and top with sliced chicken breast. Optional: Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Chili Flakes.

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

A few years ago, I felt like every other word being thrown around in food world was “umami“.

From food critics, to journals, burger spots and heck—even soy sauce commercials. And it made me wonder, how the heck did we used to describe foods of similar taste profiles before?

Now, I highly doubt you’ll ever catch me using this phrase to describe foods, mostly because I don’t want to sound like a poser. But that’s not to say, I don’t love ingredients that are supposed to epitomize “umami“…..like mushrooms. Because y’all know, I am a mushroom fanatic.

Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate

This little number is ALL about mushrooms and its earthy flavors. I used a mix of criminis, shitakes, oysters, and porcinis and then slowly cooked them down to create a rich ragoût. And holy SHITAKE—-it’s makes this mushroom-lovin’-gal HAPPY!

Ah heck…….it’s freaking deliciously umami!

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Mushroom Ragoût with Fettuccine Rigate
Serves 4

1 Pound Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (crimini, portobello, trumpet, oyster, etc.)
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
½ Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Stock (vegetable, mushroom, beef, chicken, etc.), warmed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Cup Shallots, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
¼ Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
½ Pound Fettucine, cooked according to directions
Kosher salt and Black Pepper

In a bowl, add the dried porcini to the hot water. Allow to reconstitute for at least 20 minutes.

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic and red chili flakes and sauté for an addition 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until softened—about 10 minutes. Add the porcini mushrooms that were reconstituted in water, saving the liquid. Mix and sauté for an additional minute. Add in red wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated.

Pour in the liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in––be careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Cook until the liquid has reduced to half. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour together with a fork. Add in the butter/flour mixture to the mushrooms, stirring it in well to combine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the stock and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to desired consistency. Add in basil and season with salt and pepper.  Remove 1/3 of the mushrooms and toss in the hot fettucine noodles to the pan, tossing it in the ragoût evenly to coat the noodles. Plate the pasta and top with a spoonful of the remaining mushroom ragoût.

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

Okay, I confess. I didn’t really come up with this pasta dish on my own. It’s actually my interpretation of Pasta Pomodoro’s Penne Portobello which I just L-O-V-E.

Italian Sausage, chicken, mushrooms—all in a garlicky cream sauce. How could it not be Delizioso?

Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia

In addition to the criminis, I used porcini mushrooms and its liquor for an extra level of earthiness to the dish.  I also threw in fresh arugula leaves at the very end for a bit of freshness and peppery flavor. And although this is technically a cream sauce, you’d be surprised how light it all was.

Bon appetito!

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Penne di Funghi con Pollo e Salsiccia
Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

¾ Pound Penne Pasta
2 Links Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Boneless Chicken Breast, sliced
2 Cups Loosely Packed Arugula
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
½ Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup White Wine
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons Shallots, chopped finely
3 Whole Garlic Cloves, diced finely
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and cook the penne pasta just shy of al dente.

Place the dried Porcini in a bowl with the hot water. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute—about 10 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid from the Porcinis (saving the liquid) and roughly chop them.

Heat olive oil in a very large heavy pan (or pot) over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add Italian sausage to the pot and use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the sausage is barely pink, add the chicken. Continue cooking until both are done. Use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate covered with paper towels.

Using the same pan, lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add garlic, chili flakes, and both mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine and liquid that the porcini was reconstituted in–being careful not to add in the mushroom grit/sand. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the liquids until it is reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Return the sausage and chicken to the pot and add the cooked penne. Stir until all the penne has been coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from the heat and toss in the arugula leaves. Toss until the leaves are just wilted. Serve and Enjoy!