This is another “No Recipe” dinner that I created from what I had in the fridge that needed using and a half-used package of pasta in pantry. Of course, to have anything in the fridge you have to go grocery shopping now and then, and most of you do. Also, a decently-stocked pantry of essentials is necessary for making impromptu dinners without having to run to the store.
Recently, I spent a Saturday morning helping a young mom and blogger friend with organizing her pantry and as we went through tips and suggestions for quick meals, she suggested that I do a post on what kinds of foods and pantry items are essential to a healthy pantry – some people may not know what to have on hand to be able to throw together a quick, easy, and reasonably healthy meal. So thanks to Kara Noel of Eli’s Lids, I’m working on that list now, so check back later this week.
1 medium red onion, sliced
6 oz. crimini mushrooms*, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh spinach
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
8 oz. bucatini or spaghetti pasta
½ cup prepared pesto
¼ c. pine nuts, toasted
¼ c. manchego cheese**, grated (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions, Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, sauté onions until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 more minute. Remove onion mixture from pan. Set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the mushrooms, cook until golden brown and most of liquid has cooked off – about 5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, stirring until softened. Meanwhile, spread the pine nuts on a toaster oven tray and warm on 300 for about 2 minutes. Watch carefully – they brown quickly.
Run hot water over the pasta. Spray pasta pot with oil. Return pasta to pan. Stir in the mushroom and onion mixture. Add the pesto and toss the pasta to incorporate all ingredients.
Serve in pasta bowls, sprinkle with pine nuts and grated cheese.
*Crimini mushrooms are coffee colored and richer in flavor and nutrients than the more common white mushroom. They are readily available all year round.
** Variations: parmesan, romano, asiago. Eliminate the cheese for a vegan diet.