Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the tag “mushrooms”

Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach

This past weekend, I visited with family in Vancouver. Vancouver is one of my very favourite places, not only because many of the people I love live there, and the fact that it is a stunningly beautiful place, but also because it is a vibrant, multicultural feast for all the senses. I had the opportunity to go shopping with my sister-in-law, who is a formidable foodie. She has sussed out all the best places to buy ethnic foods, and we always go out together on food adventures…this time, we visited little grocery stores in Chinatown (she is Dutch-Chinese and was able to identify a lot of things I did not recognize or know the use of), and hit up an amazing Italian grocery store called Bosa. If you ever need *anything* Italian grocery-wise in Vancouver, Bosa will have it! I stocked up on pastas, antipasto, all kinds of things…a place like that is like the proverbial candy store to me. I could wander in there all day 🙂

One of my purchases was a dry spaghetti pasta containing hot chili. It is a pretty orange colour (it has a bit of tomato and garlic in it as well). I wanted to have it today, but had not been grocery shopping and did not have a huge variety of stuff to cook with it. Some of my yummiest inventions come to me when I have limited selection. The following is what I made, and it was, in my husband John’s words, “damn good”.

2 tbsp. avocado oil (or other high heat-tolerant oil)
one medium onion, chopped
1/2-3/4 pound brown mushrooms, chopped coarsely
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups fresh spinach (packed lightly)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash Old Bay seasoning
dash cayenne pepper
lots of freshly ground pepper
good pinch sea salt
250g (1/2 package) “spaghetti al peperoncino” – Italian hot chili pasta (plain pasta would be fine)
1 tbsp. olive oil
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to taste

Bring salted water to boil, and put pasta on to cook for about 8-9 minutes or until “al dente” (slightly chewy in the centre of the pasta), or longer if you prefer it to be softer.

While water is heating/pasta is cooking, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms brown and lose most of their liquid. Stir in oregano, Old Bay seasoning, cayenne, salt and pepper.

When pasta has about 3 minutes left to cook, add garlic and spinach to onion-mushroom mixture in pan. Stir in and allow spinach to wilt. With measuring cup, scoop 1/4 cup of the water the pasta is cooking in and add to the vegetables. This will make a bit of sauce. You may like to add another 1/4 cup, just do it carefully as you don’t want to make it too wet. The starch in the water will cause a bit of thickening of the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your taste, and toss with the olive oil. Mix in the vegetables and any liquid, tossing thoroughly.

Plate the pasta and top generously with freshly grated parmesan cheese. This amount could serve three people, but the two of us ate the whole lot. Buon appetito!

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Stilton and Potato Gratin with Chanterelles

I recently bought a massive chunk of lovely Stilton at Costco, as well as some chanterelles. Eyeing my bag of spuds at home, I knew I wanted to do something using these ingredients. Lo and behold, on cookthink.com, there was such a recipe. It contained, however, a fair bit of whipping cream and while the recipe sounded lovely I did want to have something a bit healthier…besides, truth be known, I didn’t have any whipping cream, but I did have some sour cream…  😉

Here is my spin on the recipe – it was a resounding success. You could certainly use other mushrooms and any kind of blue cheese for this. Also, it could be made without the sour cream, using a total of 2-1/2 cups of broth – it would not be quite as rich but I expect it would still be delicious. It is easy to put together and impressive-looking when baked.

The flavour of the Stilton really mellows, kind of the way anchovy does, in this recipe – making it a dish that could be served to someone who does not necessarily like the assertive taste of blue cheese on its own but just wants a hint of “blue”.

1 1/2 cups crumbled Stilton (yes, that much)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chanterelles, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra Stilton, for sprinkling on top (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a large rectangular baking dish.

In a medium bowl, with an immersion blender, blend together the Stilton and 1 cup of the broth until well combined. Then whizz in the rest of the broth, the sour cream and the salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. When the foam of the butter subsides, stir in the chanterelles. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the fresh herbs over the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms absorb most of the liquid, 5-7 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a single, overlapping layer of potato slices. Pour a third of the cheese mixture over the potatoes. Layer the mushrooms over the cheese mixture. On top of the mushrooms, pour another third of the cheese mixture. Cover the cheese mixture with the rest of the potato slices and then pour the rest of the cheese mixture on top, distributing evenly. If you are sprinkling with extra Stilton, do it now.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Take off the aluminum foil and bake the gratin uncovered until the potatoes are cooked through and the cheese on top is lightly browned, 25-35 minutes.

This would be excellent with steak or roast beef, but was delicious as a vegetarian main course with simply cooked green veg on the side. Either way, red wine is a must with this 😀

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