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Main Dish

A one-pot meal won’t take up ‘mushroom’ in the kitchen

One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
This one-pot recipe for creamy mushroom pasta is a great dinner for the whole family.

Joey and I have completely different styles when it comes to cooking.

I’m a measurements person. He’s an “add it until it tastes right” person.

I subscribe to the “clean as you go” philosophy. He waits until the meal is over.

I search cookbooks and online for ingredients that meld well. He goes with his gut.

So, it was a little out of character for me when he walked into the kitchen to me scrutinizing a video on my phone while furiously scribbling down notes.

I watched a video of a person with the online handle of “Everything Delish” make what appeared to be an amazing creamy mushroom pasta, but after a long search, I realized that if I wanted to recreate the recipe, I was going to have to figure it out for myself.

I found her through her Pinterest page, if you’re interested in watching the video as well, and she has a website at everything-delish.com, although I couldn’t find this particular recipe on it. So, for the most part, the following is my interpretation.

One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
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One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta

This one-pot recipe for creamy mushroom pasta is a great dinner for the whole family.
Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, creamy, garlic, linguine, mushrooms, parmesan-reggiano, pasta, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into two-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 ounces mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas)
  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 12 ounces linguine pasta dry
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup parmesan-reggiano cheese grated
  • 6 ounces parmesan shredded
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large pan with a lid over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Don’t worry about cooking it all the way through. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, onion powder, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, letting the garlic brown slightly.
  • Add in the chicken broth and milk. Raise the heat to a low boil.
  • Add in the dry pasta. Stir to incorporate it. A bit, then lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pan. Let the pasta cook for about eight minutes or until it is al dente.
  • Remove the lid and stir. Stir in the flour, then add the cheeses and continue stirring regularly for five to 10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom to keep the cheese from sticking. Once the sauce reduces into a thicker, creamier consistency, stir in the fresh spinach. Let the pasta continue to heat through until the spinach is wilted, and serve.

This was so, so good. I was really nervous at first that the sauce wasn’t going to thicken, but after being patient, it finally got to a great consistency.

It also reheated really well out of the fridge, and Joey and I got several meals out of it.

When Joey figured out I was winging a recipe, he seemed a bit proud of me. I think maybe after a decade of marriage, he might finally be rubbing off on me.

Except for the whole kitchen cleaning thing. I’m not quite there yet.

This piece first appeared in print on June 3, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

‘Ciao’ down on Tuscan sausage pasta

Tuscan sausage pasta only uses two pots and is a quick, 30-minute dinner with lots of delicious Italian flavors.

Is it just me, or has it been particularly difficult to decide what to make for dinner lately?

OK, so I know it’s definitely not just me—it’s Joey, too. If you’re not having this same “let’s stare at each other until one of us breaks and makes a decision” moment every evening, I envy you. Honestly, a few days ago, I just ate a bowl of cereal like I was still in college. Joey judged me pretty hard, but he stopped when I pointed out that he didn’t have any idea of what we should eat, either.

After a few days of this same routine, I decided that I was going to find something new online, make an executive decision, and we were going to have at least one pre-planned meal, and let me tell you, the recipe I tried was not only super delicious, but it was quick and used a minimum of dishes to accomplish, too.

The recipe I found was on the blog “Salt & Lavender.” You can find the original at https://www.saltandlavender.com/tuscan-sausage-pasta/. I increased the garlic in my version.

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Tuscan Sausage Pasta

Tuscan sausage pasta only uses two pots and is a quick, 30-minute dinner with lots of delicious Italian flavors.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword 30-minute meal, basil, cream sauce, garlic, pasta, sausage, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta of your choice
  • 10-11 ounces hot or mild Italian sausage
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • about 1 teaspoon fresh basil minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, if the sausage is in casings, remove them and then cook the sausage over medium heat in a large skillet until the sausage is cooked through. (Crumble it as you cook it.)
  • When the sausage is nearly cooked through, remove it from the pan and drain off all but about 1/2 tablespoon of grease.
  • Add the garlic, broth, mustard, flour and lemon juice and stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet as you do so to loosen any cooked-on spots. After about one minute, add the sun-dried tomatoes and heavy cream, and cook for two more minutes, stirring regularly. Add the sausage back to the pan (careful to avoid adding grease back in with it), and stir regularly, letting the sauce thicken.
  • When the sauce has thickened to your liking, add in the spinach, basil and salt and pepper and stir until it wilts slightly. Add in the pasta and stir to coat. Top with parmesan, and serve.

I used spicy sausage, and it was really, really good. I also think you could get away with just using milk in the sauce, although it may not want to thicken as nicely.

Joey was pleasantly surprised by both how delicious this was and that we avoided the normal “What do you want for dinner?” conversation that evening.

Unfortunately, my plan completely backfired, as he announced after the first bite that I should be in charge of always deciding what we’re eating every night, since I’m apparently really good at it.

I told him he shouldn’t push his luck. After all, I doubt he’ll be as keen on the idea when he sees the family-sized box of raisin bran I have in the pantry.

I used spicy sausage, and it was really, really good. I also think you could get away with just using milk in the sauce, although it may not want to thicken as nicely.

Joey was pleasantly surprised by both how delicious this was and that we avoided the normal “What do you want for dinner?” conversation that evening.

Unfortunately, my plan completely backfired, as he announced after the first bite that I should be in charge of always deciding what we’re eating every night, since I’m apparently really good at it.

I told him he shouldn’t push his luck. After all, I doubt he’ll be as keen on the idea when he sees the family-sized box of raisin bran I have in the pantry.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 27, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

Have dinner ‘tortellini’ figured out this week

Pesto chicken tortellini and asparagus uses some pre-made ingredients to allow quick cooking with fresh and colorful vegetables.

Over the course of our marriage, Joey and I have developed a special ritual, where each of us tries to be the first one to ask, “What do you want to eat?” before every meal, as though the person who asks first is absolved from having to do any choosing.

I mean, the answer is nearly always, “I don’t know,” but we still try it every meal, every day, with very few exceptions.

He was a little shocked last week, then, when I said, “Hey, don’t worry about dinner tonight. I have an idea.”

I knew he was going to be stuck at the office late, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe and hopefully have it ready for him when he got home.

Well, let me tell you, it was a huge hit, and if you or someone you know is cultivating a vegetable garden this summer, this is a great recipe to try out.

This comes from the blog “Julia’s Album.” You can find the original at https://juliasalbum.com/one-pan-pesto-chicken-tortellini-and-veggies. I added garlic salt and more pesto to my version.

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Pesto Chicken Tortellini and Asparagus

Course Main Course
Keyword asparagus, basil pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, tortellini

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts cut into strips
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus stalks cut in half
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup cheese tortellini fresh or frozen

Instructions

  • In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Season the chicken with garlic salt and add it along with 1/4 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan, sauteing for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken and tomatoes to a plate, season the asparagus with garlic salt and add it to the pan (add a little more oil, if necessary). Also add the other 1/4-cup of sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Cook for another 10 minutes until the asparagus reaches your desired doneness (I like mine very tender, so I added about four tablespoons of water and put the lid on the skillet to steam cook it for a bit, too.)
  • While the asparagus cooks, cook the tortellini according to package directions and drain.
  • Remove the asparagus from the skillet, and cover it to keep it warm.
  • In the skillet, add the chicken, pesto and tomatoes. Stir continuously to allow the chicken to reheat and let the tomatoes release some juice.
  • Add in the tortellini and stir to combine.
  • Serve the chicken mixture along with a serving of the asparagus.

This had amazing flavor and was gorgeous on the plate. I also really liked that, while it looked complicated, it used enough pre-made ingredients that it was easy to put together. It was also awesome as leftovers later on, which I always appreciate about a recipe. 

Joey was extremely grateful to have dinner on the table when he got home and to not have to endure yet another discussion about what we wanted to eat.

The only problem is now that I’ve shown my ability to choose a meal, I have to be extra quick about being the first to ask Joey what he wants to eat. Otherwise, it may become my job every day, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that responsibility.

This piece first appeared in print on June 4, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.