Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Penne with Kale, Mushroom and Ricotta

I seldom go food shopping on a Saturday, but this past week, I did. I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of excellent buys. As I was leaving the vegetable section, I noticed that the clerk was marking mushrooms down -- from the very lot that I had in my basket! So of course, I stocked up. I spent about $5.00 and got close to 10 lbs of baby bellas. That is a LOT of mushrooms. I sauteed about half and froze them; I also had a minute steak last night which was positively loaded with sherried mushrooms. Yum....

Dear daughter was starving today, and I wasn't all that hungry for dinner. I gave her a choice of rice or pasta, and it was no surprise that she chose pasta. As I was looking at the contents of my fridge, I realized that I had all the makings for a yummy, creamy pasta dish, loaded with mushrooms. It really was delicious.

8 oz penne, cooked al dente
12 med-large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil for sauteeing
3 large leaves of kale, sliced into ribbons.
1 tsp dried herbs (I used herbes de provence)
1 tsp broth powder (I like Vogue)
Splash of sherry (maybe about 1/8 C)
3/4 - 1 C ricotta
Red pepper and salt to taste
freshly grated parmesan to taste.

First, put the big pot of water on the stove to heat up. Then wash the kale and wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove the stem from the kale and cut into ribbons. Dice the onions and set aside. Slice the mushrooms and set aside. Peel and mince the garlic. Put about a tsp or two into a hot pan and saute the onions, garlic and kale. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the mushrooms and turn the heat to high, stirring all the while. When the mushrooms start to wilt pretty well, splash in the wine and stir in the broth powder. Put the heat down to med-high. Stir to keep from sticking. Once everything is bubbly and tender, add in the ricotta and stir to melt the cheese. Add in about 1/4 C of the boiling pasta water to thin it down a little - but keep it a little thicker than you want it because the pasta will add some water as well. Taste for salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked al dente, dump the drained pasta into the saucepan and stir well so that every piece of pasta is coated. Remember that you can always add more boiling water to thin it out, but you can't take it out.

DD and I both really loved this dish. I put a little extra red pepper in mine because I like that kick, but you should salt and pepper to your taste. DD topped hers with a little bit of freshly grated parmesan. The little bit of broth powder added extra flavor and extra saltiness, so I ended up using about a scant 1/2 tsp of salt altogether. This would be good with any green and I think I would like more greens than I put in it, but the kale was particularly delicious.

This made plenty for the two of us for dinner, plus I'll get 2 lunches out of it. I'd say that this will make 4 servings overall. So, on Friday, I will take this for lunch. Tomorrow, I'll probably have a ham and cheese sandwich -- IF I make a loaf of bread in the breadmachine, that is!


Anonymous said...

I cook with a ton of greens as well as several creamy types of sauces or soups. I just wanted to suggest using a few scrapes of fresh nutmeg on a micro plane or approx. 1/8 of a teaspoon of dried nutmeg bringsall the flavors to the for front!

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight; it was easy and a big hit! I used LOTS of baby kale, no dried herbs, no Vogue broth powder and some local Frontenac Gris, and the suggested nutmeg from the other comment. Thanks for the inspiration!