49 degrees, steady rain and rich fall colors
If I Dare, Sara Bareilles
A few weeks back I had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers for the Kenai Peninsula’s 5th annual Harvest Moon Local Food Festival, a week full of events highlighting and celebrating local food – wild harvested and farmed. Home cooks and their families, local chefs, farmers, fishermen, etc. all came out to participate. On Sunday evening after my speaking engagement, my wife and I attended the Farm to Table Supper held on the grounds of Diamond M Ranch in Kenai, put on by my friend and food colleague, Willow King, and a whole tribe of helpers. Although it had been sunny most of the day, big rain clouds rolled in that evening and we all got thoroughly soaked, but we gathered around a fire with local food and drinks, and finished the night off with some music from some hometown musicians. While there, I got to meet several of the readers of my blog and food column, as one by one they would come up to me and introduce themselves. It was great getting to meet some of you in person and get to chat about food, recipes, and Alaska life together.
Of the many delectable local ingredients on offer at the supper, one of them was a sauté of wild mushrooms. Mushrooms are popping up everywhere this time of year, ready to be foraged and enjoyed. But be sure that you know which ones to pick and which ones are better left undisturbed, and make sure the kiddos know, too. If you’ve never done it, be sure to grab an Alaska mushroom identification guide, or better yet, grab a friend who is a foraging expert and bring them along. Or, if mushroom foraging isn’t for you, look for them at your farmer’s market.
Inspired by the mushrooms and fresh vegetables at the Farm to Table Supper, and the four pound bag of locally made noodles from Rosie’s Pasta in Sterling, Alaska that we came home with that night, I have a creamy mushroom and herb pasta for you this week, made with gobs of fresh herbs, spinach, lemon, and yogurt. Wild mushrooms or store bought mushrooms will work well. For you meat lovers out there, feel free to add some ground Italian sausage, crisp bacon, or sliced chicken breasts to this dish.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Lemon & Herbs
Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella.
- 3 cups pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 ounces mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 bunch basil, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sage, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- grated parmesan, as desired
Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water to al dente according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large saute pan over medium heat. Swirl the oil in the pan and add the red pepper flakes and onions, cooking until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook another 1 minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute them until they are tender and begin to brown, 5 more minutes. Stir in the fresh herbs and spinach so that they just being to wilt and turn the heat down to low. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta. Stir the yogurt and lemon juice into the pasta until coated and creamy. Toss the pasta with the mushroom and spinach mixture. Serve with freshly grated parmesan as desired.