August 31, 2017

Penne with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms

Your favorite pasta tossed with a gorgeous variety of plump mushrooms, showered with bright lemon zest and juice, sprinkled with fresh thyme and parsley, and smothered with delicious cheese.  Sounds like a scrumptious dinner, doesn’t it?  And a fantastic recipe to tell you about after a longer than expected hiatus from my dear blog. 

I want to apologize to you all for my extended leave of absence.  I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.  I’ve been around, still trying and relishing new and tasty recipes.  But occasionally you just need a bit of a sabbatical from the things you enjoy especially when it gets harder and harder to find the time and passion to put words together, let alone stories, and burnout knocks on the door.  And sometimes, jobs, priorities, things outside of your control and life in general get in the way.  I just felt it was time to unplug for a little, long while.     

So, when life gets busy and you feel there aren’t enough hours in a day for everything you have to do, you don’t want cooking to grab a big chunk out of that limited time.  You want a few ingredients to mix together and toss them in the oven or throw them on the stove and forget about them until it’s time to smell the fabulous concoction.  This recipe is utterly fast and easy to prepare and extremely versatile.  Light yet substantial, it delivers excellent results in no time.  Enjoy! 

Penne with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms
Adapted from Nigella Lawson via Food52

Serves 4 to 6

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 cups (8 ounces) finely sliced mixed mushrooms such as cremini, portabella, shiitake, oyster and chanterelle
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 sprigs fresh thyme stripped to give 1 teaspoon leaves
1 pound penne pasta or other pasta shape you like
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste (or any other cheese you have on hand or you like; I used Havarti cheese) 
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, leaves chopped, to give 1/2 cup (or more if you like; I love fresh parsley so I never measure it)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.

While pasta is cooking: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Stir well and then add the lemon zest, juice and thyme leaves, and cook the mushrooms for 5 to 7 minutes until tender. 

Drain the pasta reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.  Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture and toss well.  Add the grated cheese and toss again to coat the pasta.  Finish with the parsley and mix well.  Add the pasta water, about ¼ cup at a time, to loosen the pasta if needed. 

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)