DDD #90 – Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

Ok – this pasta.  A Facebook friend requested it & I could not believe I had not already posted the recipe.  This dish is an old regular of mine from 25 years ago & there is a funny story that goes with it.  I used to make it all the time at home & for company & many of my friends had asked for the recipe.  One day, my then boyfriend & I were served a mushroom cream pasta dish at my friend Angie’s.  My boyfriend took one taste & looked at me and said, “Babe!  This is amazing!  You have to ask for her recipe!”

Yeah.  Well – it WAS my recipe.  The only difference was that she added salt to hers & I was still brainwashed into thinking using salt was a capital sin.   I learned that lesson well that day & now I consider salt a genuine ingredient in most things – not just a forgettable & optional seasoning.  There are all kinds of fancy salts widely available now, too, and some even have healthy benefits.  Pink Himalayan salt, for example, boasts these benefits:

(from http://fitlife.tv/10-amazing-benefits-of-pink-himalayan-salt/)

  • Create an electrolyte balance
  • Increases hydration
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
  • Prevent muscle cramping
  • Aid in proper metabolism functioning
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help the intestines absorb nutrients
  • Prevent goiters
  • Improve circulation
  • Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins

So, yeah – use salt.   Salt is not just a flavor unto itself.  It also brings out & enhances other flavors.  Trust me.  Too much is awful but just the right amount is magic.

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Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions

Olive oil

10 or more fresh sage leaves

1 lb mushrooms (of nearly any variety or mix) – sliced

2 shallots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup (or more) vegan dairy (a combo of non-dairy milk & some vegan soft cheese of your choice)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

Salt & pepper to taste

Parsley – chopped as garnish (it adds a lot of flavor!)

Extra Parmesan for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water (in case you need it to thin your sauce later) & drain the pasta.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat & fry the sage a few minutes.  It need not brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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Add the mushrooms & about a tsp of salt & raise the heat to high.  The salt will help the mushrooms release their moisture.  Stir the mushrooms occasionally – letting them get seared.  When they are nice & brown – add about another TBS of olive oil & the shallots & garlic.  Fry for about 2 minutes & then add the vegan dairy & Parmesan.   Crumble the fried sage & add that to the sauce.  Bring to a boil & then lower to a simmer.  It should thicken very quickly.  Use more cream & cheese if you want a pasta with more sauce.  Add some pasta water if it gets too thick.   When it is the consistency of a heavy cream sauce – season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add the pasta, stir to combine & serve it up.  Garnish liberally with chopped parsley & maybe more Parmesan.

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Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is the easiest recipe EVER!  The only cooking involved is boiling the pasta.  This is a delicious dish & can be made vegan by simply omitting the burrata – because it doesn’t really need it – but if you are a cheese lover – burrata is a creamy, decadent delight!  I used heirloom tomatoes (actually 2 heirloom & 1 regular) but any tomatoes will do.  Fresh & light & easy.  Yum!

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Pasta alla Crudaiola with Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta (I used orrecchiette)

3 tomatoes – halved – at room temperature (never refrigerate tomatoes)

1-2 TBS olive oil

garlic to taste – minced (I used 2 cloves)

2 balls burrata (more or less – your call) – at room temperature

Basil – torn by hand (quantity – your call)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Halve the tomatoes & poke or squeeze the majority of the seeds out.  Dice the tomatoes.

Mince the garlic.  Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, some shredded basil & S&P in a bowl & let the flavors combine – at room temperature – for an hour.

Cook your pasta.  Drain & toss with the tomatoes.  Plate it & add the burrata.  Bust into the burrata & blend for a fresh & creamy sensation!  Garnish with extra basil & lots of freshly cracked pepper.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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A disclaimer at the top: sometimes my photographs are underwhelming – even to me.  And – in this case – the photos do not do justice to the wonderful flavors of this dish.  I shoot with my i-phone only & usually use only ambient or natural light.  When you add the additional hurdle of a full-time job – that means I am making these pasta dishes as soon as I get up & shooting them in the morning sun – before work.  In the winter, the sunlight changes pretty quickly & dramatically in the mornings & evenings.  So – one day, I might shoot a dish at 9am in great light (like yesterday) but the next day I get the dish done earlier & am shooting at 8am – as was the case today.  The 8am light isn’t pretty.  It is blue & blue is an ugly tone to add to food – especially foods in the white/cream color zone because the blue is so much more evident.  Then – trying to correct the blue – shit gets all yellow.

So – I carted this bowl of pasta all over my house trying to find nice light.  I never really succeeded – but I did get a shot of the ever-optimistic Memphis – who follows me faithfully, hoping against hope that I will drop the food (which has happened) or just decide to give it to him (which has not happened).  Look at him in the upper right of frame:

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He is so fucking cute!  And I love him too much.

Anyway – I digress.  My point was, these are not my best photos but the dish is EASY & delicious & lighter than you might guess from the photos.   Eh – fuck it.  TRUST ME – this dish is really tasty!

On another note, I get sorta frustrated always pointing out ways in which my recipes can be tweaked to be vegan or vegetarian or meat-filled.   I kinda expect a committed vegan to know how to sub out dairy & I expect meat-eaters to know they could use real meat (in my vegan meat recipes) or add it if they want it – even if I never mention it.  I am never deterred by a meat item in a recipe title because I know at least half a dozen things I can replace it with (from vegan meat to chickpeas to cauliflower etc etc).

So – that in mind, cooked chicken could be added to this.  Vegan alternatives exist for blue cheese as they do for milk & butter.   Or use real milk & butter.  But if you use real milk or butter – try to get the highest end organic stuff you can find.  I used these things in this recipe (including the gourmet salts my friend Alyse brought me back from Hawaii):

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But there is this vegan butter out there available at most large supermarkets.

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Whatever you decide – this comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta.  You can up the dairy (or faux dairy) ingredients if you want a more Alfredo-style pasta.  I don’t like heavy sauces – so I went pretty light with this one.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (Vegan or Not)

Feeds 2 well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta of your choice

1 TBS butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup milk (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup blue cheese (or vegan alternative)

1+ cup fresh arugula  (use more of the veggies to get an even lighter dish)

10-15+ small Brussels sprouts – trimmed & grated, shredded or chopped very fine (I grated mine in a food processor)

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

Shred the Brussels sprouts

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over med-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts for maybe a minute – longer if you cut yours into larger pieces but these guys should soften very quickly.  After a minute or two, add the milk & blue cheese.   Let it come to a boil & then lower to simmer & stir to melt the cheese.  Season with S&P.  Add the pasta & the arugula & heat through – letting the arugula wilt.

Serve that shit up & garnish liberally with freshly ground pepper.

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Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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First of all – I want to point out some new eggs I found.  I am not vegan – though I wish I were & will likely be one day – but until then, I feel real guilt whenever I buy cheese and especially when I buy eggs.  Free-range is a bullshit fraud.   Watch THIS video (sad but not graphic) of a bunch of free-range hens being released to a sanctuary & tell me that you think they led happy lives.   They clearly did not.

So, I have been buying pastured eggs & paying about a dollar each for them.  That is OK – because I don’t eat a lot of eggs & I am happy to have my money support genuinely humane farming practices.  So – imagine my delight when I saw this brand of eggs selling for about $6 a dozen.

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Vital Farms even includes the above little flyer explaining the lives of their ladies.  I love that they call them ladies.  Anyway – assuming they are not pulling off some elaborate hoax – these guys seem to be a good source for eggs that come from happy chickens.  I got mine at a local Ralph’s but their site lists other venders.  Look for one near you!

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Ok – onto this pasta.  A Facebook friend requested it & I could not believe I had not already posted the recipe.  This dish is an old regular of mine from 25 years ago & there is a funny story that goes with it.  I used to make it all the time at home & for company & many of my friends had asked for the recipe.  One day, my then boyfriend & I were served a mushroom cream pasta dish at my friend Angie’s.  My boyfriend took one taste & looked at me and said, “Babe!  This is amazing!  You have to ask for her recipe!”

Yeah.  Well – it WAS my recipe.  The only difference was that she added salt to hers & I was still brainwashed into thinking using salt was a capital sin.   I learned that lesson well that day & now I consider salt a genuine ingredient in most things – not just a forgettable & optional seasoning.  There are all kinds of fancy salts widely available now, too, and some even have healthy benefits.  Pink Himalayan salt, for example, boasts these benefits:

(from http://fitlife.tv/10-amazing-benefits-of-pink-himalayan-salt/)

  • Create an electrolyte balance
  • Increases hydration
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
  • Prevent muscle cramping
  • Aid in proper metabolism functioning
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help the intestines absorb nutrients
  • Prevent goiters
  • Improve circulation
  • Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins

 

So, yeah – use salt.   Salt is not just a flavor unto itself.  It also brings out & enhances other flavors.  Trust me.  Too much is awful but just the right amount is magic.

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Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions

Olive oil

10 or more fresh sage leaves

1 lb mushrooms (of nearly any variety or mix) – sliced

2 shallots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup heavy cream (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative

1/4 cup grated Parmesan – (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative

Salt & pepper to taste

Parsley – chopped as garnish (it adds a lot of flavor!)

Extra Parmesan for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water (in case you need it to thin your sauce later) & drain the pasta.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat & fry the sage a few minutes.  It need not brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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Add the mushrooms & about a tsp of salt & raise the heat to high.  The salt will help the mushrooms release their moisture.  Stir the mushrooms occasionally – letting them get seared.  When they are nice & brown – add about another TBS of olive oil & the shallots & garlic.  Fry for about 2 minutes & then add the cream & Parmesan.   Crumble the fried sage & add that to the sauce.  Bring to a boil & then lower to a simmer.  It should thicken very quickly.  Use more cream & cheese if you want a pasta with more sauce.  Add some pasta water if it gets too thick.   When it is the consistency of a heavy cream sauce – season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add the pasta, stir to combine & serve it up.  Garnish liberally with chopped parsley & maybe more Parmesan.

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Orecchiette with Kale & Tomatoes & Manchego Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is simply another easy recipe to top the orecchiette I made the other day.  You could make the orecchiette yourself or buy a dried version.  I used a mix of cherry tomatoes & Roma tomatoes because I had them on hand.  Any tomatoes would work.

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Orecchiette with Kale & Tomatoes & Manchego Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1 lb orecchiette

2 TBS olive oil

3 shallots – diced

2 cups kale – chopped

30-40 cherry tomatoes – halved – (or an equivalent amount of other tomatoes)

3 Roma tomatoes – diced – (or an equivalent amount of other tomatoes)

1 tsp salt

Manchego cheese – grated fine (or Parmesan)

Parsley or basil – chopped as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan & heat the chopped shallots.  Add the diced tomatoes & chopped kale & salt & saute until the kale wilts.  Add water if this mix gets too thick.

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Cook the orecchiette as per directions & drain.  Add to the saute pan & toss to blend the ingredients.  Serve with grated Manchego & parsley or basil.

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Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach Pecan Pesto & Gruyere

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

 

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This pasta is vegan but the sauce is not.  The sauce is, however, raw & very good for you!  The nice thing about orecchiette (little ears) is that it is a homemade pasta that doesn’t require any special tools.  It would, however, require a good 15-20 minutes of kneading the dough (which I used my bread machine for) but beyond that it is very easy.  I recently purchased a little wooden gadget to roll gnocchi on & I used it here to make these prettier but that was just goofiness.  It doesn’t effect flavor or the ability of the pasta to capture sauces.  This is a SUPER easy entry level pasta & an even easier sauce.  TRY IT!

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Homemade Orecchiette with Spinach Pecan Pesto & Gruyere

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

1 cup semolina flour

3/4 cup plus 4 TBS water

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup pecans – toasted til fragrant in a dry pan

1/2 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves (or less – to taste)

2 packed cups spinach

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup gruyere cheese – grated – as garnish

parsley – chopped – as garnish

Additional fresh spinach – chopped – as garnish

S&P to taste

additional water for the pesto

DIRECTIONS

Toast the pecans in a dry pan until they are fragrant (a few minutes) making sure they do not burn.  Put the toasted pecans, olive oil, garlic, spinach, Parmesan & about 1 tsp each of salt & pepper in a food processor & blend until smooth.  Add water if necessary to get a nice smooth consistency.  Set aside.

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To make the pasta – either blend the flours & salt in a deep bowl, create a well, add the water & blend & knead until you have a soft & pliable dough that is no longer sticky.  Additional flour might be needed to lose all tackiness.

Alternately – put the ingredients in a bread machine & use the pasta dough setting & let the machine mix & knead the dough.  This is genius and a bread machine only costs about $100 – and I use mine ALL THE TIME for bread, pasta & pizza doughs.

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Once you have your dough, break of hunks & roll them into long snakes about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Cut these into 1/2 inch pieces & then with your finger tip or other small round thing – create little ears with each of the small bits.

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Initially, I used my finger tip

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Until I spied this hanging from an old Orangecello bottle & used this for the rest

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Allow these to dry on wax or parchment paper (or a floured surface) for 3-4 hours.

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If you happen to have one of these

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You can roll the backside of each piece over it for this look

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To cook – boil water & add the orecchiette & cook until they all float to the surface – typically well under a minute.  Drain & mix with the pesto & top with chopped fresh spinach, parsley & grated Gruyere.  Take pictures & post all over Instragram & Facebook & Tweet immodestly of your culinary achievement!

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