Friday, October 19, 2012
A SPAGHETTATA: MY HUSBAND'S CURRENT FAVORITE QUICK PASTA DISH
|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"!
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!
BRYANNA'S QUICK & EASY "SPAGHETTATA" WITH MUSHROOMS AND SPINACH
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.