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Ziti with Caramelized Onions & Portobello Mushrooms

Posted Apr 09 2009 7:16pm
Before I dive right in with the recipes, I thought I'd start with a little background regarding the type of eating in the Disgruntled Household. For starters, regardless of how many hours I spend in the lab, I am a regular slave to the stove. Despite growing up with a mother who refused to cook and only ordered take-out, Husband somehow finagled me into cooking for him a mere year into dating, and I have been doing so every night for the past 5 years. Weekends when we are around and not running off to the hospital/lab I cook breakfasts, I always pack our lunches, and I cook dinner every night -- I cannot remember the last time we ordered in (it has been years), and we eat out maybe once a month at most (and always with friends as a social activity, never alone as an avoidance of cooking).

That said, cooking for us is a bit of a... challenge. You see, I don't eat meat. Husband does, and prefers it with as many meals as possible. I obviously don't have time to cook two totally separate dinners, nor am I interested in roasting a chicken and winding up with just a plate of broccoli for myself, so I'm continually looking for things which can be altered easily to add or subtract meat from parts of the meal. Husband and I do eat fish, but within the past year, I've discovered that the scent of raw fish is likely one of my migraine triggers, so I can no longer bring fish into my kitchen and cook it myself. Neither of us keep Kosher so shellfish would be an option, but Husband is allergic to shrimp (and is quite sad about it), and is not particularly fond of scallops, so both of those easy options go out the window. So, as you can see, we're a complicated pair.

Since he's currently on Night Float, for the time being, we're all about Super Quick Dinners. He has to be out the door by 6:30pm, so I have to make whatever is super fast. I thought I'd start out with one of my all-time favorite recipes, which I don't make often, since we rarely eat pasta (and when we do, it's usually in the form of homemade spinach lasagna). It's also super easy, and fast, so as long as you like onions, mushrooms, and goat cheese, you have no reason not to try this out as a quick weeknight dinner. It's not the prettiest looking dish (and food photography is certainly not my specialty), but what it lacks in presentation, it makes up in tastiness.

Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoons butter/margarine/spread substitute of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pound portobello mushroom caps, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb ziti (we use whole wheat)
  • 3-4 oz soft goat cheese (I use Montrachet), crumbled
Directions:
  1. In a large frying pan, melt butter and 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well browned, 20-30 minutes. Remove from the pan.
    Onions, starting to caramelize.
  2. In the same pan, add the mushrooms and 1/4 tsp of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes, until tender. Return the onions to the pan, add the parsley, the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and the pepper.
  3. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the ziti until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain. Toss the ziti and the pasta water with the mushroom mixture, the remaining 1 tbsp oil, and the crumbled goat cheese.
Serves: 4-6 (For the 2 of us, we get 2 dinners served with a vegetable or salad, plus 4 lunch containers, out of this recipe).
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