Ingredients: fettucini, button mushrooms, spinach, Grana Padano (cheese), garlic, green chili, butter, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, parsley, salt, black pepper.
This was a quickly-improvised meal aimed at getting rid of some mushrooms and leaf spinach in my fridge. The flavors and textures weren’t exactly refined, but I devoured it in about 5 minutes anyway because it just felt so carby and nutritious going down.
While the pasta was boiling, I thinly sliced the mushrooms and a large clove of garlic. I also cleaned up the last of the spinach and roughly tore it into large pieces. At this point I realized that it wasn’t going to be a sufficient quantity, so I defrosted 3 “pucks” of frozen spinach to go along with it. I would rather have had all fresh spinach for this particular entrée, but I do like using the frozen kind in addition to fresh spinach when I’m making dishes that involve blender-ed spinach (eg. creamed, palak paneer, etc.) The fresh stuff has great flavor, but it’s relatively expensive, and its texture feels a little “slippery” to me when puréed.
A trick I learned for brightening up spinach is to incorporate a little minced green chili. The flavor isn’t distinguishable; rather, the spinach just tastes more spinachy.
So, I added a half a green chili to some olive oil, along with the garlic. A minute later, I added the sliced mushrooms and leaf spinach, letting the mushrooms brown and the spinach wilt a bit. Then I added the frozen spinach, parsley, salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a shot of white wine. Finally, after the alcohol from the wine had cooked off, I added a pat of butter to the sauce, which has the effect of lightly emulsifying it (a form of thickening). Technically, the butter actually reverts to cream.
I tossed the fettucini in the sauce, then served it with grated Grana Padano. It tasted a bit too rich at first, so I squeezed a little more lemon on top, making it perfect.