Impromptu pasta night


A long time ago, I went grocery shopping with my friend Joelen to Trader Joe’s. While I was there, I spotted some brown rice pasta and decided to pick it up, to see if it was any different from whole wheat pasta (for the record, I love whole wheat pasta but I am all about trying new things). When I got home, Tom said, “Please don’t buy any more pasta.” I looked at our cabinets, and sure enough we had about 8 or 9 lbs. of pasta. Oops. So, it goes without saying that the brown rice pasta made its way to the back of the pasta shelf, until today.

I actually wasn’t planning on making dinner tonight, but my plans changed mid-day. I had nothing thawed and no groceries since I have been living out of a suitcase all month. But, I had dinner with Joelen last night and she asked me if I had tried the brown rice pasta yet. I was getting pretty sick of saying “no” every time she asked and was feeling like a bit of a culinary bum, so when I discovered I would be making myself dinner tonight, I had to try it.

Verdict on the brown rice pasta? Tastes pretty much like whole wheat pasta. It has a slightly different taste, maybe a little nuttier, and more of a bite to it. Nutritionally speaking, it is pretty similar in terms of calories and fat (it actually has no fat), but it’s low in dietary fiber (1g) so I think I will stick to whole wheat pasta. If you eat gluten-free, though, this is a great option for your pasta fix!

Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese
Serves 2-4

8 oz. pasta, cooked
3/4 lb. mushrooms (I used crimini and oyster)
1/3 cup onions, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 bay leaf
1-2 sprigs of thyme or a pinch or two dried
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sherry
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 oz. soft or semisoft goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

Heat butter in a large saute pan over low-medium heat. Add the onions, mushroom, bay, thyme, and a couple pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have evaporated all or most of their moisture, about 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant (Note: this is a good time to drop the pasta in the water).

Add sherry to saute pan. Increase heat to medium-high and cook sherry to reduce down by a little more than half, around 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta and peas with mushroom mixture until peas are heated through. Top with goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Impromptu pasta night