So it seems I’m not the only one around here who likes things fast, easy and cheap. The articles covering quick dinner ideas seem to be a hit so I’m going to keep these coming. As you can tell by my lack of posts lately free time is something I, like many others, have very little of. When everything else in your life is turning into a Groundhog Day like pattern it’s nice to be able to bust out of the routine and make some sexy, embarrassingly easy dishes. Your family will be all like wow you go to work, run errands, pick up the kids, clean up and you still toil away over the stove and make us something new?! Ya, that’s right, I got it all going on ladies. Oh, and this dish is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
This one comes from the weirdo mind of Michael Symon and his must own 5 in 5 cookbook. I find there are never enough of these go to everyday cookbooks so I’m always pumped when I find one that I like. It’s also a great book to use as a base guide and come up with your own twists and tweaks to a dish. It’s a fun way to get novices cooking more and getting the creative juices flowing in the kitchen. Each recipe in here is dead simple too so it’s an awesome way to get your kids involved. But what the hell am I rambling on about the book for? Pete’s already written a piece on it right here so maybe I should just shut my face and get to cooking.
Pasta With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
1 Pound pasta(the book calls for pappardelle but I used tagliatelle)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Pound button mushrooms
1 Small red onion
3/4 Cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
1/2 Scant (a bit less than)teaspoon smoked paprika (I added this)
Salt and pepper to taste
First thing to do is set a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Seems like a fair amount of people still add olive oil to pasta water as it boils. By all means go ahead and do that…if you like wasting olive oil. The concept of flavoring your water with the oil isn’t a bad one but oil and water don’t mix, literally they don’t. You’re far better off drizzling some oil over your dish just before you eat it. Sorry if I come off like a jerk when I say these things it’s just that I’m a jerk and sometimes I say things. Wow that was alot of talking to say “boil water”.
As that gets going you can go ahead and slice the mushrooms. If you’re like me when pressed for time you can just pick up the mushrooms that are already sliced. I’ve done the math and they don’t cost any more than the non sliced ones.So long as they don’t look slimy and have that fishy smell then go for it. Saves a good 5 minutes of scrubbing and slicing time. Now slice that red onion as thin as you can. This one I’m cutting is particularly strong and has me a little weepy. There are lots of tips out there for ways to alleviate the burny onion fumes like lighting a candle or storing your onion in the fridge for a bit before slicing. What I find works best though is to not be a wuss and suck it up. And if your 5 year old asks why you’re crying just tell them it’s because they disappoint you.
Get a pan on medium high heat and work those mushrooms and onions until they’re all nice and sweaty. Should take you about 3 minutes. That’s what she said, am I right? Your water should be boiling by now so add the pasta and cook it until it’s al dente. Make sure to place a bowl under your strainer to keep some pasta water for later. This should be second nature for you now. Don’t make me be all “This is this and that is that”. Pasta water is the great sauce equalizer. Once the pasta’s drained add about 1 cup of the water to the mushrooms and onions, deglaze the pan (scrape the brown bits up) and let it reduce by about half. That should be about 2 minutes.
From here you can add the sour cream to the veggies. There’s an old Ukrainian proverb that asks what do you call 3/4 of a cup of sour cream? Not enough. I am much like that famous celebrity family whose names all start with K, the more cream you shove down my face the better. So I added a full cup here instead. Add the tarragon and the paprika and mix it all real good. Give it a quick taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Last thing you need to do is add the pasta to the pan and like a lonely college student give it a good toss. SHALAKA! You got a new meal ready for the family in minutes.
I think the paprika here was a smart addition if I do say so myself. There’s something about the bite of sour cream that works well with the smoky spice. As much as I love tarragon I found this amount to be a little overpowering. I might reduce it next time and throw in a little chive action too. I think a couple cloves of minced garlic might not hurt either. The thing with vegetarian dishes like this is that I find there’s never enough meat. That being said I wouldn’t hesitate to add some cubed crispy pancetta or bacon. So when I ask my kids what they think of it they both tell me “Papa why didn’t you put bacon?” Damn hell ass kids.