Shiitake Mushroom & Smoked Pepper Penne

mushroompastaI met Ashley, another local farmer, this week. She has an adorable produce stand called Chick-A-Dee on Hwy 240 just as you’re leaving Newberg. Stop in and visit if you’re local. Right now the way is well marked by pumpkins and scarecrows.

Ashley was selling a sweet pepper that’s unfamiliar to me, and one I want to grow next year. It’s called Jimmy Nardello. She also had some smoked ones available at her stand that were preserved in olive oil. She puts them out on cheese trays, or adds them to pasta. I imagine sometimes she eats them right out of the jar. At least, I did with the ones I purchased and brought home.

Hold that thought.

The fall rains and cooler nights have brought on another flush of mushrooms from our Shiitake logs. I currently have LOTS of mushrooms and decided to make pasta for dinner tonight, featuring these healthy, earthy, tasty ‘shrooms. Since I had this gorgeous jar of smoked peppers on hand, and a few leaves of spinach, I decided to experiment, Tamra Adler style.

It. Was. Delicious. So I’m writing it down, so as to remember to make it again, or something that approximates it.

Ingredients:

8 ounces penne or fettuccine pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter or better yet, a combination
2 c. (or more) shiitake mushrooms (or other hearty mushrooms)
1/2 c. fresh basil
1 c. fresh spinach (or more)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic
About 1/3 c. roasted or smoked sweet peppers. (I used 4 smoked Jimmy Nardello peppers, which are red, long slender peppers, smaller than bell peppers. Roasted tomatoes could be substituted for these. It would give a different taste, but either one adds a delectable touch)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 c. half-n-half or heavy cream

Directions:

Start a kettle of lightly salted water to boil pasta.

Meanwhile: dice garlic, slice shiitake mushroom caps, thinly slice basil, and chop spinach.

Add the pasta to the water and cook as directed (8-11 minutes). Meanwhile, on low, heat the 2 Tbsp. oil or butter in a skillet on and toss in garlic. Saute until soft, but not browned. Add the mushrooms, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Turn off the heat, and stir in chopped spinach, basil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet and set aside.

Grate 1/2 c. parmesan cheese and chop smoked peppers.

Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet, along with 2/3 of the cheese, peppers, and the half-n-half. Stir to combine and serve immediately, garnishing with more fresh basil and the remaining cheese.

mushpasta

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