Tuesday, September 14

Pasta with mushrooms and 'homemade' sauce

While Tara is recovering from her jaw surgery, I can pretty much eat what I want.  Naturally, there will be some meals consisting solely of popcorn or avocado toast, but I also want to take the opportunity to eat down some of the food that's been languishing in the kitchen.  You know what I'm talking about - all that stuff that was bought with good intentions (Oooh, look!  Homemade falafels; I can totally do that!*) - but for whatever reason, they weren't used.  I'm actually looking forward to cooking up some of that food, especially the items that I like but Tara won't eat: Helloooooo angel hair pasta!

I came up with this meal on the fly.  There were several things in the fridge and freezer that I wanted to use up:  fresh mushrooms, frozen diced onion, ravioli, mystery grated cheese (Parmesan?), and a half-empty (full?) container of Ragu pasta sauce.  Pasta it was!  However, I took one taste of the sauce and dumped it down the drain; I don't know if it was just stale or too sweet, but it was nasty!  So, I had to resort to canned tomatoes for a sauce and, thankfully, it was pretty good.  I found the sauce to be a little salty, but Tara declared it the best pasta sauce she ever had.  She even insisted on having a small bowl with noodles chopped up super small.

Pasta with mushrooms and 'homemade' sauce 

The sauce makes 4-6 servings, depending on how saucy you like your pasta. 

Your best bet to get the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms done at the same time is to start them around the same time - Shocking, I know!  So, as soon as you put the water on to boil, turn the heat on for the oil, then puree the tomatoes and get them heating in the pot, and finally, start cooking the onions.   If you time it right, you could potentially have this meal ready in 20-25 minutes.

  • 1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, Italian recipe
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, and Oregano flavor
  • 1/4 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 8oz button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 heaping Tb butter
  • 2 heaping Tb oil, divided (grapeseed or olive oil are good) 
  • pasta of your choice
  • Parmesan cheese for topping, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Dump in the pasta, boil for a minute or so and turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and cover.  Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.  Check the pasta frequently after the 10 minute mark to determine when the pasta is done.  I find this method a lot easier to cook pasta than the traditional method. Once the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot.

Puree the tomatoes to your preferred consistency using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender; I only did a few pulses because I like my sauce chunky.  In an uncovered sauce pot, bring the puree to a boil and then reduce heat to an easy simmer.

While the sauce is cooking and you're waiting for the pasta water to boil, heat a large skillet over med - med/high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the oil.  After the oil has heated, add the butter and cook until it has foamed.  Add the onions and stir to coat in the butter-oil mixture; turn down the heat down to medium.  Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they have browned, about 5 minutes - Be careful not to burn them!  Finally, add the sliced mushrooms, stirring to coat; you may need to add some more butter or oil at this point.  Saute the mushroom-onion mixture until they are done to your liking, 10-15 minutes.

To serve, plate the noodles, top with sauce and mushrooms.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, if using.

* When Tara read that sentence, she said, "I want homemade falafels!"


  1. What a wonderful recipe ... looks so yummy n inviting !!!

    - Smita
    (food ideas to feed picky eaters)


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