Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms and Cream

Quick, easy, elegant.
This is for my friend Drew, an enthusiastic cook and a fan of many cuisines. Although he is usually an adventuresome soul, the idea of vegetarian cooking makes him uneasy. I understand this: no one wants to eat weird food. This is a good time to remind everyone, including myself, that the goal of Vegetarian Skinny is to discover vegetarian meals that are made up of familiar foods. You won't find much here that your grandmother didn't recognize as normal, completely edible food. I promised no tofu, and I am sticking to that!

Many Italian dishes are vegetarian, although we don't give them that label. Eggplant Parmesan, Pasta Puttanesca, Pasta e Ceci, and Pasta Primavera are examples of common Italian recipes that do not include meat. My father recently gave me an old pasta cookbook he found at the Mt. Dora library book sale. It is wonderful. Here is my first installment from this gem of a cookbook. Enjoy!

Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms and Cream

8-10 oz fresh spinach, washed and cleaned
1/2 c water
1/2 lb fresh portabella or white mushrooms
juice of 1 lemons
3 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs marsala wine
1/ cup heavy cream
freshly ground plack pepper
1/2 lb bowtie pasta (or other shape if you prefer)
4Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a deep skillet or large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add spinach. Cover and steam for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until just wilted. Do not overcook. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel, trim stem ends and slice thinly. Add lemon juice and mix well.
  3. Melt butter in skillet and add garlic and marsala. Coll for 3 minutes, then add mushrooms. Cook 5 more minutes, then add cream, stirring often. Bring mixture to a boil, add some salt and pepper liberally. Remove from heat.
  4. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain well and return to cooking pot. Add spinach, then mushroom and cream mixture. Put in individual plates, top with Parmesan. 
Optional:  Garnish with chopped walnuts or pine nuts.

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