Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Spaghetti with Mushroom Marinara

I’ve got several containers of fresh tomato sauce in the freezer and plenty more tomatoes on the vine, so this is a bountiful year for making lots of tasty tomato-based dishes.

Here, I used the basic sauce and turned it into a marinara with onion, garlic, and herbs. The mushrooms add rich meatiness to this hearty and healthful vegetarian dinner.

Note: I used cipollini onions simply because I like their tender texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor. You can substitute chopped white onion, if you prefer. But if you use cipollini and they’re too small to peel, blanch them in boiling water for a couple minutes first. When they’re cool enough to handle, the skins will slip right off.

Cipollini Onions
Serves 4

  • 6 oz very small (15-16) cipollini onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 12 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 recipe of Slow-Cooker Heirloom Tomato Sauce (or 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, and flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Crimini Mushrooms
  1. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the cipollini onions 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop the onions.
Blanched Onions
Peels Slip Off after Blanching
  1. Heat a large deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 9-10 minutes.
Onions and Garlic Beginning to Cook 
Mushrooms Added
Cooked Mushroom Mixture
  1. Add the tomato sauce and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly, 45 minutes. Leave the lid slightly ajar for the last 15 minutes to help the sauce thicken.
Tomato Sauce and Herbs Added 
Cooked Mushroom Marinara
  1. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain. Add the drained pasta to the marinara and toss gently to coat.
Sauce Tossed with Spaghetti
To serve, divide the spaghetti among 4 pasta bowls and pass Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table for grating.

Spaghetti with Mushroom Marinara

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