Pasta with Dried Mushrooms & Asparagus

Another make-it-up-on-the-spot dinner.  I have the ingredients…just can’t find a recipe that uses them all!

I have some fresh asparagus, dried mushrooms, a shallot and dried pappardelle.

I’ve made a portobello mushroom creamy pasta, so I’m using that recipe as a guide.

Soak the dried mushrooms and save that mushroom water.  Blanch the asparagus then cut stalks into smaller pieces. 

Saute the re-hydrated mushrooms in butter and oil.  After a bit, add the sliced shallot.  Saute a few more minutes and then add a cup of beef broth and the mushroom water, about a cup of that, so two cups of liquid total.  Then add a small amount of sherry, salt, pepper and thyme — building flavor.  Let this simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus pieces and let them cook till tender — a couple of minutes more. 

I’m adding a little milk and 1/2 & 1/2 to give the sauce very little creaminess. 

Boil the pasta until it is not quite done.  Strain and add to the pan of mushroom sauce to cook it till it’s tender.

From pantry to table - just under a half an hour.  Thinking on my feet tonight!

Seconds tasted even better — the pasta absorbed more of the sauce, delicious.

Dinner: Monday November 14, 2011

Pork chops and scalloped potatoes – this is dinner tonight.  I can’t believe it is so dark outside!  It is fall even though temperatures were warm today.

On the blog Food52 I found this simple recipe for pork chops with balsamic onionsThe chops are coated in and eggs, flour and panko breading.  The recipe calls for fresh herbs – I have none.  So, I’ll substitute dried rosemary, thyme and basil.  I have no sage.  I have to add this to my Penzeys shopping list. (They opened a store one town over.  No more mail order or waiting to get to their kiosk at Grand Central. Yeah!)

 First sauté the chops and then put them into the oven to finish.

I’ll start working on the scalloped potatoes.  I use Julia Child’s recipe in The French Chef Cookbook.  I heat up one cup+ of milk in the microwave.  I’ve added two smashed garlic cloves into the milk to infuse it with garlic.  And yet again I’m using my plastic mandolin, this time to slice the potatoes.  The first dish I picked for the potatoes was too small.

They fit better now.  Into a 425 degree oven for 25+ minutes.


Asparagus are ready to roast, but I won’t put them in until later. They only need about 15+ minutes.


Next, have to slice onions (on the mandolin) and get them cooking slowly.


While they’re cooking, I’ll set up the three stations for the pork chop dipping & breading.

Browned and now ready for a 400 degree oven till cooked.


The onions are ready for balsamic vinegar.  I’m going to use the Fustini Cinnamon Pear Vinegar.


Everything is done. and MS is home for a hot dinner. 

The daughter would have even liked this fall dinner!