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Today is unseasonably warm on the west coast—80 plus degrees, sun is shining—not your seasonal sweater weather conditions. If you happen to be in the North East right now, attempting to put on a second pair of gloves so you can shovel enough snow to get to your front door, I’m going to apologize for this seeming braggadocios in advance. Today again finds us celebrating Valentine’s Day, a holiday where we honor love and pay homage to those who hold our heartstrings . . . by exchanging awkward cards while getting hopped-up on sugar waiting for our 10:45 PM dinner reservation with 400 other hungry couples—isn’t it magical?! If you’re like me it doesn’t truly matter if we have fancy dinner reservations, or a box of gamble chocolates (Jim Gaffigan understands), what matters is sharing love, and my friends dessert is the perfect conduit!

The above average temps have me cringing at the thought of using my oven, so how am I going to make anything Cupid-worthy?! I sat, I pondered. Then I decided to try something new, something that only requires a little refrigeration, something I shall call—Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfaits! Sounds a little corny—perfect! We’re using two varieties of instant pudding mix—dark and white chocolate, fresh raspberries, whipped topping, and some cookie crumbles. That’s it. These are as festive as they are delicious. Hot weather isn’t going to get into the way of our overindulgence, pop the Champagne, let’s layer!

Pudding Parfaits (with Raspberries)

51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 layered mini parfaits

Pudding Parfaits (with Raspberries)

This is cinch to make and even easier to eat! Perfect for Valentine’s day, or when you want a no-bake dessert.

What to get...

  • 1 (3.56 oz) package of Hershey’s White Chocolate Pudding Mix (Instant)
  • 1 (3.56 oz) package of Hershey’s Special Dark Pudding Mix (Instant)
  • Cold milk for pudding, according to package directions
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, cleaned
  • 1 tub cool whip topping, defrosted
  • 1 cup cookie crumbles (I used raspberry chocolate Madeline’s)
  • Chocolate shavings (I used a chocolate bar & microplane to get shavings, optional)
  • Valentine’s Day colored sprinkles for topping (optional)
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)

What to do...

  1. In 2 small glass parfait cups (or small glass bowls) place a bottom layer of the cookie crumbles (equally divided between cups).
  2. According to the instant white chocolate pudding mix, mix pudding and pour layer over cookie crumbles (less than half of glass or bowl height), into both parfait bowls (any remaining pudding can be poured into additional serving bowls and refrigerated).
  3. Chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, uncovered.
  4. While pudding sets in fridge crush the fresh raspberries with a spoon and set aside.
  5. Once 1st pudding layer is set, remove bowls from fridge and spoon thin and even layer of the crushed raspberries onto white choc pudding layer.
  6. Next spread a thin layer of whipped topping onto he raspberry layer.
  7. According to package directions, make the Special Dark Chocolate instant pudding in a bowl with a whisk, and pour final layer to almost top of bowl or cup.
  8. Refrigerate the parfaits to set chocolate pudding, 20-30 more minutes uncovered (any remaining pudding can be poured into additional serving bowls and refrigerated).
  9. After top layer of pudding is set, before serving, remove parfaits from fridge and top with dollop of whipped topping, chocolate shavings, a fresh raspberry, and sprinkles.

Notes

I used instant pudding mix, but you can definitely use the cook and serve variety, though each layer of pudding will need to set in the fridge! You can use any variety of cookie to crumble, if I had homed chocolate chunk cookies, it would have gone perfectly!

http://www.dinnervine.com/2015/02/pudding-parfaits/

pudding parfaits - 042

No matter where you are and how many layers you need to be wearing, we’re better focused on the ones you should be eating! This weekend, I hope you enjoy a little decadence with your Valentine.

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Snacking isn’t for the faint of heart . . . well not in my family. Gatherings consist of a holiday-worthy spread, even if it’s just your average Sunday. Having recently returned from the Southern US over the holidays, I’ve been missing the many delicious appetizers we serve. There is one dish I fancy that we don’t have out here on the west coast. It’s a classic, no-frills, and quite addicting dip—southern pimento cheese. Cold cheeses & pimentos . . . that’s it? It may seem pretty simplistic, but this spread pairs perfectly with crackers, veggies, and our version will transform into glorious grilled-cheese sandwiches—I think I just heard a choir of angels?!!

pimento cheese - 032If you’ve yet to sample this, it’s a great alternative to standard-issue cheese & crackers. Pimento cheese spreads adorn market shelves throughout the South, but stores out here are severely lacking, and so we’re making our own. There are many variations, some using mayo, some sour cream, and in our case—cream cheese. My family buys a prepared version with chopped jalapeños, which offers the perfect punch to this inherently creamy dip. I enjoy mine with a contrast of crunchy pretzel chips. Recently, I made a large batch and wondered how else to serve this (despite eating double the normal serving, which may-or-may not have already happened).

With bacon & sourdough on-hand, I knew what must be done—Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with bacon. Forget mere dipping, we’ve upgraded to a decadent DINNER! Cold weather? I hadn’t noticed.

Cheese is always a winner, what are we waiting for?

pimento cheese - 119

Pimento Cheese Spread with Jalapeño

51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: large party-size bowl for serving and making sandwiches

Pimento Cheese Spread with Jalapeño

A classic southern spread of creamy pimento cheese, gets pepped up with some fresh jalapeño and lightened up with the addition of reduced fat cream cheese! Leftovers? No problem, we’re making crispy grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, and not skimping on the bacon!

What to get...

    For Pimento Dip:
  • 4 oz Pimentos (jar of sliced, sweet variety)
  • 16 oz Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese (I use reduced fat, soften to room temp)
  • 2 T mayonnaise (I use Best Foods Light)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (fine)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2T fresh jalapeño (deseeded and finely diced)
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic (minced)
  • 2 dashes paprika
  • *pretzel chips, crackers or celery sticks for dipping (optional)
  • For Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches:
  • ~1/4 cup pimento cheese spread (recipe above)
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread (2/sandwich)
  • 1/2T shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 pieces of crisped bacon (I use maple bacon)
  • softened butter for coating bread slices for grilling

What to do...

    Making the Pimento Spread:
  1. (Before preparation, soften cream cheese at room temperature).
  2. Drain jar of pimentos, and roughly chop, set aside.
  3. Deseed & remove membrane of a fresh jalapeño (using just about half), finely dice, set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine all pimento spread ingredients (cream cheese, chopped pimentos, shredded cheddar, minced garlic, mayo, Worcestershire, jalapeño, salt, pepper & paprika), mix until thoroughly combined/smooth (this can be done by hand or in bowl of an electric mixer on low).
  5. Refrigerate dip at least 30 mins before serving (serve with crackers, sliced bread, chips, or cut veggies).
  6. Making Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:
  7. Cook 2-3 bacon slices until crispy (per sandwich).
  8. Butter both sides of 2 slices of sourdough bread, and in a preheated skillet, place slices to brown the first side of each, and also sprinkle the shredded parmesan onto the top face of each slice (we’re ultimately parmesan-crusting the outside of sandwich).
  9. Once bottom side of slices are brown, flip bread carefully to brown outside of sandwich. Now add the pimento cheese spread to the top of slices and let heat (~5 mins).
  10. To one half add the bacon slices, and then combine halves of sandwich together and let sit on skillet to heat through another few minutes.
  11. Serve sandwiches immediately while warm!

Notes

This cheese spread is super easy and great to make ahead! The sandwiches are a nice variation of the standard grilled cheese and are very creamy & decadent! I like to have them alongside tomato soup on occasion. The pimento spread if refrigerated stays good for up to 7 days.

http://www.dinnervine.com/2015/02/pimento-cheese-spread/

The most desirable part of this dish—other than delicious—is how simple this is to make, and make ahead. If you’ve had your fill of celery sticks and pretzel chips, taking the leftovers and making one crispy grilled sandwich with a center of molten cheese lava . . . well I have no regrets! If you don’t fancy jalapeño, you can easily omit here; however, by deseeding and removing any of the pepper’s membrane, it only lends this spread a little flavor. Until I’m back in the south again, I’ll just have to indulge my fond memories with a homemade batch from time-to-time. hoping you will enjoy this one along with me.

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It seems like just yesterday I fell asleep anticipating December’s arrival. In a blink, I woke up and Christmas is only a day away! I’m not certain how the season arrived so quickly, but now begin the festivities as we say farewell to the year. The holidays are a special time for me, as I travel back home to be with close family & friends. There is no shortage of entertaining, and in our family that means a whole lot of cooking, baking, chopping—you name it!

With visitors in-and-out during the days to come, it’s nice to have a good repertoire of appetizers to serve. This year I wanted to create a winter recipe for hors d’oeuvres with a little holiday flare! With a bag of fresh cranberries in my stores, I wondered—what is something savory that might make for a holiday-suited app? Then I decided maybe cocktail meatballs, and who doesn’t appreciate a classic ball of meat now and again? By combining the cran with fresh rosemary and balsamic we achieve a tangy glaze fit for the holidays, and so we have Cranberry & Rosemary Meatballs. Time to enjoy great company and being home . . . Kenny Loggins and I sure think so—Celebrate Me Home.

For these I made a simple glaze on the stove with the cranberries, rosemary, balsamic and white wine. These are similar to one of my standard meatball recipes, but this time I’m also incorporating fresh & fragrant rosemary, dried mustard, garlic and shallot. I decided to brown them in a skillet and serve tossed in our glaze. This is perfectly portioned for a party starter, or even for a dinner if you make sides.

Cranberry & Rosemary Meatballs

51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: about 15 (1.5 inch) meatballs

Cranberry & Rosemary Meatballs

Savory cocktail meatballs with a festive glaze of winter cranberries, rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for a holiday appetizer!

What to get...

    For the Pork Meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground pork (or pork sausage)
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 T fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, seasoned
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T butter (for melting in skillet)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 12-oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1.25 cups dry white wine, (1/2 cup divided, I use Chardonnay)
  • 1.25 cup water (1/2 cup divided)
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 T fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated (and peeled)

What to do...

    Make Cranberry Glaze:
  1. In a medium-sized pot combine cranberries, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white wine, sugar, sea salt, rosemary, and heat on medium-low to bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally throughout.
  2. Cook mix until cranberries begin to burst & sauce thickens & then reduces (about 15 minutes), using back of spoon pop any cranberries that haven't yet burst).
  3. Once sauce thickens add the lemon zest, grated ginger, balsamic and add the additional 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup of water, combining and continuing to simmer on low (sauce should be semi-thick).
  4. Make Meatballs:
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine ground pork, shallot, garlic, sea salt, pepper, ground mustard, rosemary, parsley, Worcestershire, bread crumbs, and egg, working mix weigh hands until well combined.
  6. Form smaller 1.5 inch, round meatballs with hands (my mix made 14 meatballs).
  7. In a large skillet melt 3 T of butter, and once pan is pre-heated, arrange meatballs about an inch apart and begin to cook/brown (you may need to do 2 batches if pan is small).
  8. Cook meatballs on medium heat, turn with tongs to brown on each side (~1-2 mins/side).
  9. Once meatballs are cooked through, in a large bowl toss them in desired amount of cranberry glaze, and serve warm.

Notes

These pork meatballs are an easy make ahead party appetizer, or make larger meatballs for a dinner portion and can be served with sides for a complete meal. The cranberry glaze if too thick, can be thinned out with a little additional white wine or water. The glaze and meatballs can be made a day ahead.

http://www.dinnervine.com/2014/12/cranberry-rosemary-meatballs/

Cranberry Meatballs - 37I love meatballs with pretty much any sauce, but cranberry seems fitting for our winter holiday. What I like more, is this recipe can easily be made ahead—which means more quality time drinking eggnog at that ugly sweater party.

This Christmas, may you savor great moments, meals and memories with those you hold dear.

Happiest of Holidays to You & Yours!

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In just one day, again will be the night for a little Halloween fright! October 31st marks the perfect occasion to get unconventional in the kitchen. The past few years I’ve conjured-up some witch-worthy Halloween sweets, but this year I decided to keep it savory.

What delicious—and visually unappealing—dinner should the evening offer? I debated squirmy pastas or ghoulish goulash, but then one dark dish came to mind. I grew up with black bean soup and though I love the flavor, a bowl of bubbling blackness never looked too appealing—this will be perfect! Keeping things festive, I decided we’d also serve our brew in an edible, ghostly gourd.

I consumed southern black bean soup as a youngster, and always loved it. My Mom would put a big pot on the stove some Sundays, letting the soup simmer throughout the afternoon. I remember her soaking the beans the night before, or if she was pressed for time, just a quick soak the day of. This brought some questions to mind, what if I DIDN’T soak these black beauties? What if I threw them into a chicken stock abyss and let them fend for themselves? I happened to come across an article recently, which touched on this very dried dilemma: Soak Black Beans?

Well, the curious chemistry-loving cook in me took the author and foodie, Kenji’s advice—and I didn’t soak my beans. Well, for the first batch. That’s right, I tried both un-soaked & quick-soaked on different occasions, just to see for myself! The result? Virtually the same texture with what seemed like a long cook time to achieve the tenderness I was seeking . . . I guess you were right all along Florence.

Time to put the cauldron on:

 

Black Bean Soup

51

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: large pot of soup

one bowl at a time

Black Bean Soup

Slow cook black bean soup is a great Halloween meal, or any meal for a cool Autumn night!

What to get...

  • 1 lb (bag) dried black beans
  • 1 large sweet white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 4 cups water (for initially quick-soaking dried beans)
  • 7-10 cups chicken stock (depending on cook time & bean texture)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (like a dry Chardonnay)
  • 2 T butter, for sautéing vegetables
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • dash ground cumin
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • green onion or chives, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • edible pumpkin, or squash (I used Carnival squash), to serve soup in (optional)

What to do...

    (Prep ahead) - Quick Soak Dried Beans:
  1. Rinse dried beans in a colander with cool water, sorting out any debris, drain.
  2. In a large pot, add beans and cover with ~4 cups warm water (or enough to cover by ~2 inches).
  3. Bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes on stove (stir to ensure beans don't stick to pot bottom).
  4. Cover pot & remove from heat, letting beans soak untouched for 1.5 hrs (begin to prep other ingredients during this time, see steps below).
  5. Drain soaked beans & rinse with cool water, set aside.
  6. Make Soup:
  7. While beans are soaking for the 1.5 hrs (see steps above), finely chop carrot & celery in a food processor, then followed by the onion & garlic (to a fine texture).
  8. In large soup pot (or Dutch oven), fry the 4 slices of bacon until brown & crisp (can add a little butter here if bacon will sticks to your pot bottom), set slices aside.
  9. To pot with bacon grease, add 2T butter, chopped vegetable mix, dried thyme, pinch of salt & pepper and sauté on medium for ~8 mins.
  10. Add 1/4 cup chicken stock & continue to sauté mix until tender (~10 more mins) stirring often, set mix aside and turn off heat.
  11. When beans are rinsed, reheat pot with sautéed vegetable mix and add: 6 cups chicken stock, beans, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp black pepper—bringing mix to a boil.
  12. Let pot simmer on medium heat, partially covered for 1.5 hours (stir & check liquid levels occasionally, pot should be bubbling/almost gently boiling & beans should be covered with enough fluid, add more during if needed).
  13. After 1.5 hours check beans & liquid level, adding 2-4 cups additional chicken stock (as needed) and one strip of the cooked bacon, continue to cook (partially covered) for another 1.5 hours until soup is thickened.
  14. After 3 hours of cooking, again check tenderness of beans & liquid level (add more fluid & continue to cook as needed, to let fluid absorb & evaporate to desired consistency).
  15. Add additional 1/2 tsp sea salt if necessary (though the bacon strip will add some saltiness also).
  16. When beans are tender enough add 1/2 white wine, dash cumin & splash of red wine vinegar, simmer for 15-20 mins (removing bacon slice & 2 bay leaves, add additional S&P as desired), soup should be thick.
  17. Serve bowl of soup warm, with dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion, and crumbled bacon on top as desired.

Notes

This soup is not difficult, but takes time on the stove, so I like to make it on weekends or when I'm able to be home at the end of the day! Liquid levels depend on the tenderness of the beans. We quick soak the dried beans so part of the cook time is the 1.5 hours of soaking. You can continue to cook soup after 3 hours, adding more fluid until beans are tender enough to serve. This soup should be thick, but you can add stock so this reaches desired consistency. Depending on quality of dried beans, I've had batches take a really long time, and some that cook in 3 hours. I have also used un-soaked and soaked beans, and the cook time is only marginally longer (~40 min) when un-soaked. Add salt during cooking as desired!

http://www.dinnervine.com/2014/10/black-bean-soup/

Both bean-laden batches tasted delicious! Though, I realized my bean bags were a little hauntingly ancient. Seems fitting for All Hallow’s Eve, but not so much for testing my hungry impatience. In the end, I decided that the quick soaking did allow me to use less cooking stock and a bit of time; therefore, I declare this method the winner, but not by much (I guess Mom’s do know best).  black bean soup - 063

The bacon gives us a smokey flavor, and I oven-roasted a carnival squash to serve the soup in, which gives us a hint of sweet. This recipe is pretty flexible—I added fluid (and seasoning) until the beans were to my fancy. Basically we’re soaking dried beans (or not if you’re following Kenji’s method), sautéing veggies, then slow-cooking to develop flavor & tenderness. In the end we add white wine & red wine vinegar—both acids—to give this the necessary pop! We add these last and not when beans are initially cooking, because acidity will inhibit them from drawing in fluid, making their skins tougher. Then it will take even longer, and I’d rather be Trick-or-Treating (or in my case begging my niece or nephews for a Twix). This one tastes even better the next day, so it’s a great soup to make ahead for the week.

Here’s to wishing you a night of devilish dishes, and hopefully you get a little candy—or someone else’s—Happy Haunting!

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Psssst . . . pssssssst. Hey you, over there!
Yes YOU! The one looking super sharp in the kitchen.
I have news . . . delicious news! (Why are we whispering?)
Guess what?
Nooo. YOU guess what!
Never mind, I have something good to share:
It. Is. Officially . . . FALL!

 

Pumpkin candle burning, boot & scarf wearing, candy corn eating! I just may combust into flames of leaf-changing joy! Wait . . . I’m in Southern CA, and it’s still hot-as-sin, with no discernible foliage.

That’s alright because Bath & Body Works & William Sonoma have used their seasonal trickery to transform my kitchen from a SoCal sauna, to a harvest-haven. Yes my friends, it’s time to COOK again!

I decided to commemorate our recent equinox with a rustic pasta dish. I’m a huge fan of mushrooms, in many of their delectable varieties (well, not the poisonous death-inducing ones). We’re going to use several types to add flavor & texture. Ultimately we end up with a comforting, creamy Wild Mushroom Pasta Sauce over fresh paparadelle. Where have you been all my summer?!

Crimini, shitake, white button, alien-looking oyster mushrooms—will all join forces with mascarpone cheese, wine, sage & parsley.  It’s simple, yet ever-so satisfying. Want a bowl? Here you go:

Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce with Pappardelle

51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: ~4 side servings or a few larger dinner portions.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce with Pappardelle

This is a rustic and rich fresh mushroom sauce, perfect over fresh pasta, easily made in one skillet.

What to get...

  • 1.5 cups Shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup White Button mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup Oyster mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped finely
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 3 sage leaves, small, fresh, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme leaves, fresh, chopped
  • 3T butter, unsalted (for sautéing shallot & garlic)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5T flour, all-purpose (for roux)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 9 oz fresh pappardelle pasta (or dried if not fresh)
  • *parmesan cheese to top as desired.
  • *fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

What to do...

  1. Rinse and chop mushrooms roughly (I left some smaller mushrooms sliced only, for texture).
  2. In a large, rimmed skillet or pot, melt 2T butter and sauté the shallots, garlic with pinch of salt & pepper, until tender (~5 mins).
  3. Add the mushrooms, thyme & 1/4 cup wine, and continue to sauté on medium-low, letting fluids evaporate some (~10-15 mins).
  4. Make roux to thicken sauce by adding 1T butter to pan, then sprinkling ~1.5T flour over mix to begin roux, stirring to incorporate flour into mix.
  5. Simultaneously, add ~1/4 cup wine to sauce gradually, stirring continuously until absorbed (sauce should be thickened & smooth, add more wine or water if needed).
  6. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer, adding the fresh sage, salt & pepper (to taste), stir occasionally.
  7. While sauce is simmering, boil pasta noodles in a large pot of salted water, drain but reserve ~1T starchy pasta water and add back into sauce and stir).
  8. Fresh pasta will cook mush faster, so only make a few minutes before serving.
  9. Serve fresh pappardelle noodles with mushroom sauce on top, and finish with freshly grated parmesan & little chopped parsley.

Notes

If you can make or buy fresh pasta for this, it is better, but any noodle would work! I prefer the wide egg noodles, such as pappardelle for this type of creamy sauce. This would also go well over rice, chicken or a protein. You can add different mushroom varieties if you have them available!

http://www.dinnervine.com/2014/10/creamy-mushroom-pasta-sauce/

Considering my Southern roots, I’ve been a devoted casserole eater most of my life. Many of those creative bakes involved canned, cream of mushroom soup. I’ve always loved the rich constancy it gave, but wondered how I could achieve the same with fresh, healthier ingredients. Sorry Campbell’s, but it’s time to make my own mushroom magic. Not to mention there are so many varieties to work with—the more, the better! I chose mascarpone cheese as our creamy element, due to it’s thick, yet neutral flavor—it’s  basically Italian cream cheese. I was craving a richer sauce, but without having to use a ton of flour & cream. The white wine brings the necessary acidity and wine makes everything better.

Good news (if you like mushrooms)! This can be cooked in one skillet on your stovetop. This sauce doesn’t stop at pasta, but maybe over rice, chicken . . . both? Maybe we should double-up the batch then! I like paring fresh mushrooms with sage, just seems to work with the earthiness. When we combine our sauce with fresh pasta noodles, well . . . I need a minute to collect myself. It’s just that good. You won’t even miss the meat here!

I recommend this dish for a great weeknight dinner as the days get cooler, or really anytime. Here’s to welcoming the change of season, with arms wide open!  creamy mushroom pasta sauce - 62

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