Happy Accident

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything, and you can blame it on the end-of-winter-waiting-for-days-to-be-longer hibernation. But last night I cooked a dinner that just has to be shared. It was part design, part accident. As it turns out, you can’t go wrong with good mushrooms, good Parmesan, good pasta, and a good veggie-roasting routine.

Now, I don’t cook  with recipes often. They take too much time and planning for me. So what I’m about to share comes with the caveat that I probably couldn’t recreate it exactly if I tried tonight.

I started with almost a whole pound of sliced Shiitake mushrooms. I sauteed with butter and olive oil (butter for flavor, olive oil to raise the burning temperature). The mushrooms were sauteed with a little crushed red pepper, tarragon, and garlic for probably 10 minutes. I then added a medium pinch of flour to thicken, a splash of veggie broth for flavor, and about a cup-and-a-half of milk. Meanwhile, I cooked the whole wheat pasta.

Once the sauce started to boil and thicken I added some Parmesan. Well, a lot of Parmesan. I stirred that in and got a creamy, but not too thick, mushroom sauce. Then I drained the pasta, tossed a bit more Parmesan (the rest of the container I had…) into the noodles, then let them fall into their creamy fate for a final minute of cooking.

On the side I served roasted carrots and parsnips (cut into chunks, toss liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper, put on baking dish in single layer, and bake in 400-degree oven for 15 minutes).

With a little parsley on top of the pasta, and the still-slightly-crunchy-in-the-middle veggies, I got what turned out to be my new favorite meal. It was full-flavored yet totally simple and comforting. Lots of protein and vitamins, yet delightfully meat-free. Umami, spice, texture, and indulgence all wrapped up in one tidy meal.

Ingredients from Ag Connect: Shiitake mushrooms, Italian parsley, Parmesan, carrots, and parsnips.