Friday, October 19, 2012


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Quick and Easy Vegan "Spaghettata" with Mushrooms and Spinach

Yesterday was one of those days when I didn't know what I was going to make until the last minute.  (This seems to be happening more frequently than it used to-- I blame the computer!) In the late afternoon, after scrubbing the shower and hanging up the new shower curtain and liner, I had made the last of two versions of vegan popovers/Yorkshire Puddings (my cooking quest of the moment) I made that day (both just okay-- the quest goes on), plus some of my homemade mayonnaise.  Suddenly, it was 6 PM and "what to make for dinner"!
(A small digression: I'm in the cooking doldrums lately, which is partly why I haven't been blogging much.  The other reason is that I've been very busy planning for a fund-raising event, which took up much of my time.  The event was last Saturday and was successful, but I was exhausted, to tell you the truth. A couple of days of doing almost nothing, plus alot of catch-up to accomplish in the house and elsewhere, has not yet resulted in a burst of creativity in the kitchen-- though I seem to have revived interest in the vegan popovers again. This is probably a good sign.)

In this sort of situation, I open the fridge and peer in, looking for things that need to be used.  Usually, this will inspire me to come up with a fast, edible improv dish, or remind me of a recipe I've made before which is worth repeating.  This time I remembered the bunch of beautifully fresh spinach we had bought the day before.  You have to use that up pretty quickly.  I had been thinking before that a pasta dish of some sort might fill the bill for dinner, but I hadn't settled on anything, so this led me to wonder about pasta+spinach+?? for a quick, full-meal-deal. (This type of pasta dish, BTW,  is known as "spaghettata" in Italy-- a sort of Italian version of what my late husband Wayne's Irish grandmother called "bread-and-with-it".)  Fresh oregano in the garden, fresh mushrooms (also purchased the day before), a little white wine needing to be used up... the result was the following dish, which my husband declared "one of the best pasta dishes I've eaten in a long time"!

I opted to add strips of browned President's Choice (made by Gardein) PC Blue Menu The World's Best Meatless Seasoned Chicken Breast (a Canadian brand).  My husband thought that was the least interesting part of the dish and said it could easily be left out without losing anything, so I've added that, or any favorite vegan chicken-y alternative, as an optional ingredient.  My cutlets from my newest book, World Vegan Feast (or "Breast of Tofu"  in my other books or at this post), or Soy Curls, or whatever is your favorite chicken sub.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as DH did!

Printable Recipe


Serves 4

12 oz. spaghetti (a good brand-- for GF, use a good one with some "bite", such as quinoa pasta)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, or 1/2 a medium onion, thinly-sliced
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) mushrooms (any kind-- white button is fine)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed, spun dry and thinly-sliced (or 8 cups packed baby spinach)-- this will cook down considerably so don't worry that it's too much!
1/3 cup white wine, dry white vermouth, or dry sherry
1/2 cup good tasting vegan chicken-style broth (my favorite is Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken)
1/2 cup or so of shredded vegan mozzarella 

To serve: your favorite vegan parmesan (Go Veggie! is our favorite)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

OPTIONAL: 2 President's Choice (made by Gardein) PC Blue Menu The World's Best Meatless Seasoned Chicken Breast (a Canadian brand)  (Alternatives:  my cutlets from my newest book, World Vegan Feast (or "Breast of Tofu"  in my other books or at this link), or Soy Curls, or whatever is your favorite chicken sub.)

Put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and set aside.  NOTE: you can be preparing the rest of the dish while the water boils and the pasta cooks.

If you are going to use the vegan chicken sub option, brown your choice in a little olive oil, cut into thin strips and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the onions and stir-fry until they start to wilt (add a squirt of water every now and then, as needed to keep from sticking).  Add the garlic, mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle with a little salt to release the juice.   Stir-fry until the mushrooms begin to cook.  Start adding the sliced spinach one handful at a time and stirring until it wilts before adding another.  This will go pretty fast.  Add the wine, broth, vegan mozzarella and optional vegan "chicken" strips, if using.  Mix quickly, but gently. Quickly add the cooked pasta and toss the mixture with a spaghetti rake and a spoon to mix evenly and to re-heat the pasta.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately in heated pasta bowls with the vegan parmesan.



kathyG said...

Hey Bryanna,

Almost all our meals fall into the 'quick what do I make now?' category...

I discovered something like this a few months ago and have been making it with variations fairly regularly. I've also been wondering if I could sneak some spinach into it because hubby is very leary of anthing green that is not lettuce or brocolli. You've given me courage to give it a go as soon as I find some nice and fresh (or get mine to grow!).

Other than the spinach, my main difference is I use heaps of garlic, spiral pasta and thyme instead of oregano because hubby is crazy about thyme with mushrooms.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Yeah, I think I might add more garlic next time, Kathy, and one could certainly play with the herbs. But it is amazing how tasty something so simple is. A good broth and some wine always helps-- lots of umami!

Desdemona said...

Dude, if you can make a successful Yorkshire I will be (to an even greater degree) your Biggest Admirer and BFF. My mom's Yorkshire pud looms large in my food memories; for me, breaking into one again would be akin to finding the culinary Holy Grail. So please keep at it - you're doing noble work!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I definitely will post the results when I'm satisfied, Desdemona! BTW, are you a historical mystery fiction fan? If so, have you ever read the Elizabethan mysteries by Karen Harper and Fiona Buckley?

Jan said...

I am intrigued by "bread-and-with-it". My (Irish ancestry) dad used to put a lot of his meals on bread. Is that what your husband's grandmother meant? I remember my mom saying his family always did that, they were weird. But they were also poor and I assumed they did that to stretch out the main dish.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Jan, i believe this was from the old days of poverty among the Irish immigrants to North America, when you ate whatever you could find in the pantry, along with bread to fill you up.

saniya nerani said...

What a wonderful dishes you have.

By watching all these I am not getting control over my diet.

its your unique collections