Alpine Mushroom Pasta (or: mushrooms, cabbage & pasta oh my!)

It's still September, and that means it's still National Mushroom Month! Although I took a break for 30 Minute Thursday and this weekend's cookie cake, I have a few more fantastic mushroom recipes to share with you before the month is out. This mushroom and pasta dish is especially perfect for the chillier weather settling in slowly but surely, as it's warm and filling, and completely satisfying. The flavors are subtle, and the texture is creamy and soft, if soft makes any sense as a description of a food. It also makes very large servings, but in the end it felt 100% appropriate - it's really more of a cabbage dish with pasta, so it's not nearly as heavy as a more traditional pasta dish would be.

I altered the recipe a little bit, using red wine vinegar and stock made out of bouillon and the pasta water instead of the wine (I just never keep wine in my apartment), and substituted dill in for the sage. I think that the sage and wine would add a really nice depth to the dish, but I enjoyed it as it was, so don't feel too tied down by the ingredients the recipe calls for. This is absolutely a recipe that you keep in the back of your head but don't write down - remember the flavors, the experience of the meal, and recreate it liberally based on whatever you have on hand. It'll still be delicious, I'm sure.

Alpine Mushroom Pasta, adapted from Eating Well
Yield: 6 servings
(printable recipe)

The Ingredients
8 ounces whole wheat pasta
6-8 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed and thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stock (can be made from leftover pasta water)
2 teaspoons whole wheat flour
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cheese1
3/4 teaspoon dried dill

The Method
Bring water to a boil for the pasta, and cook for just 4 minutes. Add in the cabbage and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until both the pasta and cabbage are tender - roughly 4 additional minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid plus another 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (the latter for the stock).

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and add in the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Stir the mixture often as it cooks, approximately 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and started to release their liquid.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the stock, red wine vinegar, and flour. Pour it into the pan, season with pepper, and stir until the vegetable mixture thickens, approximately 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes and cook until they just start to break down, another minute or so.

Finally, add the pasta, cabbage, and reserved 1/2 cup pasta water to the skillet along with the cheese and dill. Remove from the heat and toss to combine.

1The recipe calls for "diced smoked" cheese but I just used what I had on hand - presumably a sharp cheddar of some kind. Again, this recipe is forgiving - use what you like, can afford, and have in your fridge already. If that happens to be "diced smoked" cheese, all the better!



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