Tag Archives: mushrooms

Grilled Flap Steak, Mushroom and Onion Kebabs

As you are aware, Shish kebab is a dish of skewered and grilled cubes of meat that is popular all over the Middle East, and made of lamb, beef or chicken, they also are commonly found in the United States. When selecting the type of beef to make your kebabs, you have unlimited choices but ultimately you want your beef on the skewer to be tasty, tender and not break your budget.

If cost is not a hindrance, the best cut of beef for kebabs is definitely filet mignon. Other excellent beef options include Porterhouse, and if it looks good at the butcher or in the meat counter, also try a rib-eye. They all grill nicely and don’t require a marinade to make them tender. But while those cuts meet the criteria of best tasty beef, they’re pricey and will take a chunk out of your wallet.

For those looking for great flavor on a budget, sirloin tips work well if they are marinated ahead to make them more flavorful. Our choice, flap meat. Historically, flap meat was one of the cuts of beef that butchers kept out of the meat case for a reason: they were saving it for themselves. Much like skirt steak and hanger steak, it’s becoming more widely known and popular, and therefore easier to find in markets everywhere. (Costco carries flap meat.)

With its great beefy flavor, flap steak has a similar texture and grain to flank, hanger and skirt steaks. It tends to come to the market at 3 to 4 pounds, whereas skirt and flank steaks average around 2 pounds or less. Price-wise, flank and flap steaks are about the same.

We had 2 pounds of flap meat instead of the 18 ounces originally called for, so we also increased the mushrooms from 8 to 12 ounces. Another alteration to the recipe was adding 6 whole smashed garlic cloves to the marinade. Our kebabs were served with a minted couscous (recipe below), and a baby arugula side salad that also contained mint.

Grilled Steak, Mushroom and Onion Kebabs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 lbs. flap steak, cut into 24 cubes
  • 12 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, trimmed of stem
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into 12 wedges


  1. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic cloves and rosemary into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add steak to a bowl, and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap (or place in a ziploc bag) and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour (longer is better).
  2. While beef is marinating, soak 12 bamboo skewers in water.
  3. To assemble skewers: Add 1 piece of steak, 1 mushroom and onion wedge. Continue by adding the same. Continue until all 12 skewers are complete.
  4. Preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and clean and then oil grates. Add skewers Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes and then flip skewers. Continue cooking for additional 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer to serving plate. Garnish with fresh rosemary if desired.


Adapted from a recipe from Paula of Bell’alimento for The Mushroom Council

Minted Couscous

Minted Couscous

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3⁄4 cup tri-colored couscous
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 3⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.
  2. While the kebabs are grilling, bring 1 cup water and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in the couscous, peas, and lemon juice mixture. Cover, remove from heat and let stand at least until the peas are tender and the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, at least 10 minutes.


Savory Mushroom and Leek Galette

Made with pie crust and a handful of fresh ingredients, this Savory Mushroom Galette with Leeks is a delicious vegetarian dish that’s perfect served for dinner (with your favorite salad) or as an appetizer for a small crowd. Making this savory galette is super simple and requires no pie pan or any special equipment.

While you can use any type of mushrooms for this galette, baby portobello and cremini are two great choices—and it was what we used. If you can, add more than one type of mushroom for a depth in flavor. And if you are feeling a bit adventurous, feel free to switch up the filling by adding some caramelized onions, spinach, kale, or even small broccoli florets. Personally, we thought it was great as is!

When folding the crust over, remember that you’re just creating a little edge and the center filling should be visible. With the filling on the pie dough, be sure to leave an edge of 1″ or so without any filling, to later fold the dough over. Be sure to spread the filling evenly as well for better baking.

Nutritional yeast was new to me (but not The Hubs). It, affectionately called “nooch” is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s or brewer’s yeast. The key word here is deactivated. Don’t try putting nutritional yeast in your next loaf of bread—it won’t make it rise! This funky, flaky yellow powder seems like a totally out-there ingredient, but today, it is used for making “cheesy” vegan sauces and dips, punching up popcorn, and adding savory flavor to soups, scrambles, and more. Who knew?

But the reasons to eat nooch go beyond its health benefits. Its flavor is nutty and savory, making it a delicious addition to all sorts of dishes. Most often, it’s used to add cheesy flavor to plant-based recipes like Vegan Mac and Cheese, creating the umami that Parmesan or cheddar cheese would add.

Between the two of us, we ate 3/4 of the galette with a side salad for dinner. If going to make as an appetizer, we suggest cutting the filling ingredients in half, otherwise it will be a bit wonky to try to eat.

Savory Mushroom and Leek Galette

  • Servings: 3-4 (6-8 as an appetizer)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek (or two medium leeks, white parts only, finely chopped, about 3 cups)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. mushrooms (any kind, stemmed, cleaned, and roughly chopped, about 7 cups)
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • ⅓ cup frozen peas
  • 9-inch pie dough round (store bought is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 large egg (whisked)
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine 3 tablespoon of olive oil, the leeks, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Push the leeks to the perimeter of the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have given off their juices and then shriveled, about 10 minutes, leaving the leeks on the perimeter.
  4. Stir in the thyme and peas and cook another minute, folding in the leeks.
  5. Place the pie dough on the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle the nutritional yeast all over it, pressing the flakes into the dough with your fingers or a rolling pin
  6. Spoon the mushroom-leek filling into the center, spreading it in an even layer and leaving a 1-inch border, then folding the edges over the filling, overlapping aa sou work your way around the perimeter.
  7. Brush the dough with the whisked egg and sprinkle with the sea salt.
  8. Bake in the heated oven until the crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool about 5 minutes and then cut into 8 slices. Serve immediately.


Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh

Weeknight Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff preparation varies significantly not only based on geography, but based on other factors as well, such as the cut of meat and seasonings selected. When looking for a “quick” version of Beef Stroganoff, we ended up creating a mash-up of several different ones put together.

Originally a Russian dish, it is made up of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce of mustard and sour cream. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. Mushrooms are common in most variants.

Although are several starches you could serve with it, we opted for old fashioned wide egg noodles. Try to time it so that the noodles are done just as the meat and sauce are finishing.

TIP: If you substitute yogurt for the sour cream, use full fat yogurt, and make sure to take the pan off the heat before stirring it in or it may curdle.

Weeknight Beef Stroganoff

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 5 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thinly into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch strips long
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots or onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dry tarragon or 2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat), at room temperature
  • 8 oz. large wide egg noodles, cooked according to package directions


  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the strips of beef in a single layer with space between the strips. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. While cooking the beef, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a dish and set it aside. Repeat with remaining beef slices.
  2. In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings.
  3. In the same pan with the shallots, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Increase heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.
  4. Add 1/4 cup wine to deglaze the pan and loosen brown bits. Add 1/2 beef broth.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly. Do not let it come to a simmer or boil or the sour cream may curdle. Stir in the beef.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note that you will likely need more salt than you expect. Taste, and if it needs salt, add 1/2 teaspoon or more. Serve immediately over cooked egg noodles.


Reginetti with Mushrooms, Tomato and Pancetta

This rich, warming, autumnal dish is Milk Street’s version of pasta alla boscaiola, or woodsman’s pasta, which features earthy, meaty mushrooms. For varied flavor and texture, use a mix of different types of fungi, but thanks to the alliums, pancetta, cream and Parmesan that play supporting roles, the pasta is delicious even if made only with basic creminis. A little white wine is added for flavor-lifting acidity, and tomato puree to tie together all the elements .

Even though you might love them, don’t use portobello mushrooms for this recipe. Unless the gills are scraped off, their inky color will make the sauce dark and murky. Additionally, portobello caps are too large and thick for sauces like this one.

Instead of the suggested ziti or gemelli, we used a whole grain reginetti from Sfoglini—Bottom line: Sfoglini pastas are made with organic grains grown on North American farms which are always milled in the US. We also lowered the amount from one pound to 12 ounces. Finally, we increasing the pancetta from 4 ounces to almost 7 (because that is what we had on hand).

Here’s the thing about Sfoglini pasta: It combines the very best of Italian technique and American ingredients. Day in, day out, that’s the balance they strive to achieve. What does that mean? For starters, it means traditional bronze dies and plates on everything they make, which results in the beautiful, rough texture on your pasta (which makes the sauce stick!). In addition, they slow-dry every one of our pastas at a low temperature to preserve both flavor and nutrients. 

You will need to reserve one cup of the pasta water when it is done. An easy trick to help you remember is putting a measuring cup into the colander that is in the sink. As you go to pour out the pasta water, the measuring cup will remind you to reserve some before you pour it all down the drain. If that does happen however, you can immediately pour one cup of hot water back into the drained pasta, let it set for a few minutes, then pour the liquid back into a measuring cup.

Reginetti with Mushrooms, Tomato and Pancetta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. Reginetti (or penne, ziti or gemelli)
  •   Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster or stemmed shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 14½-oz. can tomato puree (1½ cups)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve


  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain and return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, combine the oil, pancetta, onion and garlic. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is lightly browned and the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the moisture they release evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato puree and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the mushroom mixture to the pasta in the pot, along with the cream, ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and the cheese. Cook over medium, stirring, until the sauce clings to the pasta, 3 to 4 minutes; add more pasta water as needed so the sauce lightly coats the noodles.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with additional cheese.


Original recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

Getting the consistency of the creamy mushroom sauce right is key for this pasta recipe. You want to reduce it just until it clings to the pappardelle to create a light coating; but be careful not to reduce it too much. To that end, don’t discard the pasta water after removing the pappardelle, you may need it to thin the dish when combining everything at the end (we did).

If you buy the prepackaged prosciutto, it is very thin and almost impossible to keep in one piece as you place in into the hot oil. It doesn’t really matter because in the end it gets crunched up anyway. Our mushroom mix consisted of oyster, cremini, and shiitakes. If unable to source pappardelle, fettuccine would be a comparable substitute.

We altered the amounts of a few ingredients. Instead of 12 ounces of pasta we decreased it to 8 ounces; and increased the prosciutto from 2 ounces to 4. These changes are noted in the list of ingredients below, however, you can decide what amounts work best for you.

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)
  • 1 lb. mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, cremini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 8 oz. pappardelle or fettuccine
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same pot over high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Add shallots and 1 tsp. thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
  5. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Crumble half of prosciutto into pot. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute.
  6. If pasta sauce is thicker than prefered, add additional pasta water a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition until desired consistency is achieved. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  7. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.


Adapted from a recipe by Claire Saffitz for Bon Appétit

Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Some days you just want to have breakfast for dinner—and this quiche makes it more than all right. The making of this mushroom and cheese quiche is a labor of love, but it really is a treat well worth the effort, no matter what time of day you choose to eat it.

The smoky cumin-flavored caramelized onions enfolded in a delicately textured custard set in buttery, tender, and crisp crust may tempt you into eating far more than you should. Serve with a side salad and call it a day (or night)!

Making a quiche can be a longish process, although it doesn’t ask for fancy techniques or equipment. With a little patience, you’ll have a 9-inch pie that is one hundred percent worth the bake. To streamline the process further, you could purchase a pre-made pie crust, but this blog instructs you from start to finish.

NOTE: Keep your dough cold. It’s the golden rule for making a flaky crust. So, if the butter is melting when you’re cutting the flour, slide the whole thing in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print


Pastry Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (127 grams)
  • 1⁄2 cup salted butter (113grams), chilled, cut into small cubes.
  • 3-4 Tbsp. water, ice cold

Mushroom Filling

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

Custard Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. fresh/dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. grated Gruyere OR Fontina cheese OR a mix of both, divided
  • 1-2 Tbsp. scallion, only the green part, finely chopped (save the whites for your side salad)


Pastry Crust

  1. Start by cutting chilled, cubed pieces of butter into the flour using just your fingertips (this prevents the heat from the rest of the hand from melting the butter). You can also use a pastry cutter or two knives.
  2. When you have a coarse bread-crumb-like texture add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time and bring the dough together.
  3. You don’t have to knead it. Using only the heel of your hand push the dough away from you. Then bring it back with your fingertips till smooth.
  4. If the dough feels dry add in more chilled water. 
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly, cover in cling wrap and then refrigerate until it is firm and easy to handle, about 15 minutes.

Blind Baking The Pastry Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Keep a 9″ pie dish handy.
  2. On a very lightly floured surface (you don’t want excess dry flour), roll out the dough to an approximately 12″ circle. 
  3. Pick it up gently and place it in your pie dish. Push the dough inwards along the edges and the base with a very firm hand. You can also wrap the dough around your rolling pin and then transfer it to your pie dish.
  4. After you’ve made sure the dough fits the pan well, trim the dough that’s hanging over with a sharp knife and chill for another 20 minutes.
    The Hubs used the extra dough and added it around the perimeter and notched it with the end of a knife to crimp the edges. This helps the crust from shrinking.
  5. Prick the bottom of the chilled pie shell with a fork.  
  6. Line the shell with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking beans, dry red kidney beans, or chickpeas.
  7. Bake the crust for 15-16 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  8. Remove the parchment paper and the beans and return the pie to the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Mushroom Quiche Filling

  1. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
  2. Thinly slice the onions and cook them in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter on low heat along with a sprig of fresh thyme and cumin powder. 
  3. As the onions are softening, after 5 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar.
  4. Stir occasionally, and sauté the onions until they are soft and brown, 8-10 minutes total. Add salt to taste right at the end. Discard thyme sprigs and transfer to a bowl and keep aside.
  5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms in the same pan, until they are softened and cooked, about 8 minutes.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, fresh/dried thyme, salt, and pepper. You can use any seasoning you prefer.


  1. Spread the caramelized onions on the pie crust.
  2. Top this with most of the sautéed mushrooms (save 8-10 for the top) and some green onion.
  3. Sprinkle 2/3 of the grated cheese and pour over the egg cream mixture. Top with remaining 1/3 grated cheese and the remaining mushrooms.
  4. Bake this at 350° for 40-45 minutes until the center is set and the quiche, golden.
  5. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Very loosely adapted from a recipe by Natasha Minocha

Easy Mushroom Ragù

Mushrooms are widely known for their great taste and amazing health benefits. Packed with a ton of essential vitamins and minerals, they make for an excellent addition to your diet, adding flavor to many different recipes. Thank goodness we love them!

This hearty plant-based mushroom ragù consists of readily available fresh mushrooms and is ready in about an hour. Three types of the funghi are incorporated in this recipe, but feel free to use just one or two types to make the sauce even easier. Serve vegan ragù over polenta, pasta, couscous, or even as a topping for steak or chicken.

Classic or vegan mushroom ragù will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container; in the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, spoon the ragù sauce into a pot over medium heat until warmed through. If it has become too thick, add a little more liquid (water or vegetable broth) to loosen it a little.

Make it even a bit healthier by using a whole wheat pasta. Of course if you add grated cheese like we did, it is no longer vegan, but we were OK with that.

Easy Mushroom Ragù

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, more for later
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 15- oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped hazelnuts (optional)


  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and season with another dash of salt. Add a drizzle more of olive oil and a little bit of the broth. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften and cook down a little bit.
  3. Add the thyme, oregano, parsley, and a good dash of black pepper. Stir.
  4. Finally, add the red wine, tomato sauce, and the remainder of the broth. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or so covered, then uncover and allow the mushrooms to cook some more (about 15 to 20 minutes) until the mixture thickens to a ragù.
  5. To finish, taste and adjust salt to your liking. Stir in a bit more fresh parsley. If you like, add in the chopped hazelnuts (optional).
  6. Serve with your favorite pasta, polenta, or even pearl couscous


Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadesh

Roasted Mushroom Pizza with Fontina and Scallions

Having a ready-made pizza delivered to your doorstep is certainly the easy route. But often times we love a culinary challenge, and this pizza recipe from Milk Street proved to be just that. We made our dough from scratch, even warmed it up to a perfect 75° in a sous vide bath, but it still was tricky to stretch out. You can always purchase a pre-made dough and save yourself some aggravation, just sayin’…

Be aware, heating the oven and pizza steel or stone to 550°F takes about an hour. Use this time to roast portobello mushrooms, and to combine the fontina-Parmesan cream white sauce. Don’t undercook the mushrooms. Roasting them until well browned removes moisture that would otherwise make the pizza crust soggy. Another suggestion would be to use cremini mushrooms instead of portobello caps, then you wouldn’t have to remove any gills.

The second pie was more successful!

For a time-saver on dinner day, the mushrooms also can be prepped up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated. When shaping the pizza dough, make sure that the edges are thicker than the center so they contain the cream sauce, which becomes runny during baking. For a crisp, well-browned bottom crust, if your oven only goes to 500°F, the pizza will need to bake for an extra two minutes.

The first attempt was unremarkable. The crust shape was more rectangular and we over-charred the mushrooms. Since the Fontina-Parmesan Cream makes enough for two pizzas, we made another several days later, which was more of a success story. This time we browned cremini mushrooms in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop. Plus we added about another cup of shredded fontina on top of the mushrooms. And that my friends, was a perfect pie!

Roasted Mushroom Pizza with Fontina and Scallions

  • Servings: Yields 1 12-inch pie
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 portion pizza dough (warmed to 75°F)
  • Bread flour, for dusting countertop
  • 1 Tbsp. semolina flour, for dusting pizza peel
  • 1 cup fontina-Parmesan cream (recipe below); more on top of the mushrooms if desired.
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


  1. At least 1 hour before baking, heat the oven to 550°F with a baking steel or stone on the upper-middle rack and a second rack in the lower-middle.
  2. Cut the mushroom caps into ¼-inch slices. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms, olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  3. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on the lower oven rack, stirring once, until they have released their moisture, the moisture evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 15 minutes. OR, brown them in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop.
  4. Stir in the thyme and garlic, then roast/cook in skillet until the mushrooms have browned and the garlic is no longer raw, another 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a counter dusted generously with bread flour. Flour your hands and, using your fingers, press the dough, starting at the center and working out to the edges, into a 12-inch round, turning the dough over once. The round should be thin in the center, with slightly thicker edges. Lightly dust a baking peel, inverted baking sheet or rimless cookie sheet with the semolina. Transfer the dough to the peel and, if needed, reshape into a 12-inch round.
  6. Using the back of a spoon, spread the fontina-Parmesan cream evenly on the dough, leaving ½-inch border at the edge. Scatter the mushrooms over it and season with pepper. If desired, add more shredded fontina on top of the mushrooms.
  7. Slide the pizza onto the baking steel or stone and bake until the crust is well browned, 7 to 9 minutes.
  8. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a wire rack. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with scallions and red pepper flakes.

Fontina-Parmesan Cream


  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium until stiff peaks form, about 2 1⁄2 minutes.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the fontina, Parmesan, rosemary and pepper.
  3. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger for Milk Street

Garlic Mushroom Pasta

According to chef/author Suzy Karadheh, this is hands-down the BEST mushroom pasta recipe without cream. Rich and velvety with loads of mushrooms, garlic, shallots, a little parmesan, and a lighter silky-smooth sauce.

An easy recipe, it has two main components: the pasta and the mushroom sauce. Once you cook the pasta and sauté the mushrooms, everything will come together with a light sauce in one pan.

A typical pasta with mushrooms usually involves a heavy cream-based sauce that you would likely cook separately and then spoon over the pasta. Making a hearty garlic mushroom pasta without cream or too much butter is fairly simple. The science behind this is using a little of the starchy pasta water.

Walnuts were in the original list of ingredients, but you know how The Hubs detests those little nuggets, claiming they taste like soap. I personally love them, but to keep the peace they went by the wayside. And the dish didn’t seem to suffer without them!

Garlic Mushroom Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 8 oz. dry pasta, such as orecchiette, campanelle or farfalle
  • Kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp. of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ cup packed parsley, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes to taste, optional


  1. Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling salted water according to box instructions. Keep 1 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive and butter over medium-high heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook, tossing regularly for 2 to 3 minutes (manage the heat so that the garlic does not burn).
  3. Add all the mushrooms and toss them around in the pan for a couple of minutes, adding another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt, black pepper and the rosemary. Cook the mushrooms for about 7 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they turn color and release their juices.
  4. Add the tomato paste, wine and about ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes (this becomes your mushroom pasta sauce).
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce. Toss to combine. If needed add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese and finish with a sprinkle of parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.


Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadheh

Individual Beef Wellington

The back story. This elegant staple of 1960s dinner parties derives its name from The Duke of Wellington, the nineteenth century English statesman and military officer. The name is not due to his gourmet tastes, however, but because the final dish is said to resemble the shiny dark military boots he wore.

Boots aside, it was Valentine’s and we wanted to treat ourselves at home as opposed to dining out. Initially our plan was a surf and turf riff of some sort, but then The Hubs ran across these individual “wellies” from NY Times Cooking, and we never looked back. The dinner, with a fantastic bottle of rioja wine, red salad, red baby bliss potatoes and the most mouth-watering tender braised leeks was a moment in Heaven, sigh.

Beef Wellington traditionally is a 2 to 4 pound beef tenderloin topped with mushroom duxelles and foie gras pate, and then encased in puff pastry. The preparation is simplified by instead wrapping individual beef filets. The Hubs had the romantic idea of adding heart embellishments with the leftover puff pastry and I whole”heart”edly jumped on that idea ❤

The filets need to be cut about 1 1/2-inches thick to ensure that the meat doesn’t dry out or become overcooked while roasting in the oven. If the meat is cut thinner, reduce the oven cooking time appropriately. And if your filets are greater than six ounces, the puff pastry may need to be cut into a larger square in order to envelop the meat completely. Ours were over 6 ounces, yet I managed with just the one sheet.

Also, the cooking plus resting time, is for meat that’s served medium-rare. If you like your meat more done, increase the initial cooking time in the skillet by another minute or two, and monitor the doneness of the meat from the oven with an instant-read thermometer. This recipe makes 2 servings, but it easily can be doubled.

Individual Beef Wellington

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 (6-oz.) filet mignons, at least 1 1/2″ thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz. cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • Frozen puff pastry (1 sheet from 17 1/4-oz. package), thawed but still cold
  • 1 large egg


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Generously season the filet mignons with salt and pepper, and sear until the surfaces on the top, bottom and rounded sides are no longer raw, about 2 minutes total. Transfer the steaks to a plate, reserving the oil in the skillet. Brush or spread on the Dijon mustard all over each filet and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned and no longer watery, about 10 to 12 minutes. Be patient: The mushrooms will first release some water; then, once that liquid evaporates, the vegetables will start to brown. If they are starting to stick before they brown, lower the heat or add a little water to the pan.
  3. When the mushrooms are deeply browned, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the herbes de Provence, honey, wine and cream. Let the liquids bubble and reduce until the moisture is thick and jammy, about 2 minutes. transfer to a small dish and refrigerate until cool.
  4. To assemble the Wellingtons, cut the puff pastry sheet in half (it doesn’t matter which direction). Lightly flour your working surface. Use a rolling pin to evenly roll each sheet into an 1/8-inch-thick rectangle. Mount a filet mignon-size circle of the chilled mushroom mixture in the center of each rolled-out sheet, evenly dividing the mixture between the 2 sheets. Top each mound of mushrooms with a filet.
  5. Carefully bring the edges of the puff pastry up and over the steaks, stretching the dough if needed to completely cover the meat. Twist the tops of the dough to seal the filling, as if you’re making dumplings. You want an even, uniform layer of pastry, so trim any overlapping dough as you go. When the tops are nicely sealed, flip the Wellingtons over, seam side down, and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan. You can use your hands to gently tighten each Wellington into perfectly smooth spheres. Refrigerate to chill completely before baking, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours (ours were refrigerated 6 hours).
  6. Heat the oven to 425°. In a small dish, whisk the egg until homogenous and, using a pastry brush or your fingers, evenly coat the entire outsides of the chilled Wellingtons with the egg, discard the remainder. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes. The internal temperature should read 120° for medium-rare (it will continue to cook as it rests.)
  7. Transfer the Wellingtons to serving plates.Let them rest for about 15 minutes before serving.


Recipe from the NYTimes Cooking

Spanish Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Sherry

The city of Jerez de la Frontera—commonly shortened to Jerez— is in a corner of the Andalusia region in southern Spain. It is home to sherry, the unique fortified wine that is produced in an area known as the Sherry Triangle. We were lucky enough to visit there a few years ago and experience a sherry tasting.

This beef stew got its origins in the “triangle.” It features tender, succulent pieces of beef, silky, supple mushrooms and a braising liquid rich with both sherry wine and sherry vinegar. The stew is familiar and comforting, yet deliciously different thanks to the wine’s tangy, nutty notes and the aged woodsiness and mellow acidity of the vinegar.

Milk Street adapted the recipe, adding a turnip along with the carrots and cinnamon to complement the wine. They say for this recipe simply seek a fino or manzanilla sherry—both are dry, bright and light, and therefore excellent counterpoints for the richness of the beef and mushrooms.

The sherry vinegar? If you can spare the expense, opt for gran reserva which is aged for at least 10 years and has a smooth, complex flavor, balanced acidity and mahogany hue. But, if that’s not an option, reserva (which we used) or any aged sherry vinegar, though less nuanced than gran reserva, will work perfectly well.

After one hour with the pot covered, there seemed to be too much liquid, so we left it uncovered to help some of that evaporate. After the hour and a half elapsed, we still weren’t happy with how watery it seemed so we removed the contents with a slotted spoon to a covered bowl, and reduced the liquid another 10 minutes. The beef, veggies and mushroom slices were added to the pot for the final 10 minutes.

The perfect meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon after a massive snowstorm… in fact, we both agreed, the BEST stew we’ve ever had! Confession, we were wiping our bowls clean of any residual sauce…

The original recipe claimed it would feed 4 to 6. If you served it over polenta or mashed potatoes, maybe 4 to 5? We got three portions. Next time we’ll add in another carrot and an extra turnip to make it more veggie-forward.

*NOTE: Don’t use sherry cooking wine or domestically produced “dry sherry.” To get the right complexity and balance of richness and acidity, look for fino or manzanilla sherry produced in Spain. Also, avoid sweet sherry for the obvious reasons.

Spanish Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Sherry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 small white turnip, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup fino or manzanilla sherry*
  • 1 qt. low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. good-quality aged sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 4 z. oyster or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beef and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium bowl and set aside; reserve the fat in the pot.
  2. To the same pot, add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt; cook over medium, stirring often, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, turnip, bay, cinnamon, paprika and nutmeg; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sherry and bring to a simmer over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broth, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Return the beef and garlic, along with the accumulated juices, to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover partially. Reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the beef meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours.
  6. Stir in the mushrooms and cover completely. Reduce to low and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Off heat, remove and discard the cinnamon and bay. Taste and season with salt, pepper and additional vinegar, if needed.


Adapted by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Kale

What a powerhouse of healthy ingredients! First, there’s the barley. This versatile grain has a somewhat chewy consistency and a slightly nutty flavor that can complement many dishes. It’s also rich in many nutrients and packs some impressive health benefits, ranging from improved digestion and weight loss to lower cholesterol levels and a healthier heart.

And mushrooms are a low-calorie food that packs a nutritional punch. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they’ve long been recognized as an important part of any diet. Plus, the anti-inflammatory effect of mushrooms has been shown to greatly improve the efficiency of the immune system.

Kale, one of the so-called “superfoods” is also packed with nutrition that puts it high on the list of world’s healthiest food, not to mention it is low in calories and has zero grams of fat.

All health info aside, the soup is just darn tasty too! Because our onion wasn’t very large, we also included a shallot. Instead of lining a strainer with cheesecloth, The Hubs drained the hydrating porcinis through a coffee filter, which prevents any grit seeping into the broth.

It will keep for about three days in the refrigerator, but the barley will swell and absorb liquid, so you will have to add more to the pot when you reheat. We added one cup of mushroom broth when we reheated a few days later.

Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Kale

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup whole or pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 qts. chicken stock, or beef stock
  • A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each thyme, parsley and a bay leaf
  • 8 oz. kale, stemmed and washed
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup, and pour on two cups boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Set a strainer over a bowl, and line it with cheesecloth, or better yet, a coffee filter. Lift the mushrooms from the water and squeeze over the strainer, then rinse in several changes of water. Squeeze out the water and set aside. Strain the soaking water through the cheesecloth/coffee filter-lined strainer. Add water as necessary to make two cups. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes.
  4. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes, and add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.
  5. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the barley, the mushroom soaking liquid, and the stock or water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, stack the kale leaves in bunches and cut crosswise into slivers. Add the kale to the simmering soup, and continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. The barley should be tender and the broth aromatic. The kale should be very tender. Remove the bouquet garni, taste and adjust salt, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and serve.


Recipe from The NY Times

Feast for Funghi Fanatics

A glorious meat-free dish that contains four types of mushroom and two types of cheese which lend it the most satisfying, and savory intensity. They claim there’s a fair amount of heat in this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna, but we beg to differ, we could barely detect any heat. However, if you feel the need to tone it down a bit, reduce the amount of pepper and omit the chili altogether.

The mushrooms are the star here and their flavor truly shines. Those layers of flavor and umami build on each other with each delicious bite. Yes, quite a LOT of time and effort is necessary, as it is prep- and ingredient-intense, yet the result is well worth your effort. To get ahead, build the lasagna one day, chill, then bake the next.

One reviewer wrote “The umami factor here was really off the charts. To me it was one of those rare recipes in which all the ingredients sound good by themselves and smell wonderful when cooking, but when brought together, the finished product is head and shoulders above the individual parts.” We have to agree…

You will be dehydrating the fresh mushrooms and rehydrating the dried mushrooms, then mixing them altogether to obtain a very tasty, meaty consistency. While the original recipe called for only two plum tomatoes, we decided to double that and added in 4 large. Paired with a side salad and a glass of wine, it was the perfect Sunday evening meal.

Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


For the fresh mushrooms

  • 26 oz. cremini or baby bella mushrooms halved
  • 18 oz. oyster mushrooms or other wild mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. table salt

For the dried mushrooms

  • 2 1/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 oz. dried wild mushrooms or dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 dried red chili peppers roughly chopped (seeded if desired)
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. hot vegetable stock

For the filling

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more as desired
  • 3 1/3 cups water
  • 9 Tbsp. heavy cream (just a touch more than 1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup pecorino, finely grated
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus 1 tsp.
  • 12 oz. oven-ready dried lasagna sheets (about 14 sheets)


Roast the fresh mushrooms

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, working in 3 or 4 batches, add the button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms and pulse each batch until finely chopped (or finely chop everything by hand). Avoid filling the processor bowl more than halfway so that the mushrooms are finely chopped and not over processed.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the chopped mushrooms with the oil and salt. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast near the top of the oven, stirring 3 or so times throughout, until the mushrooms are golden brown and have reduced in volume significantly, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Decrease the oven temperature to 425°F.

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms

  1. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the dried mushrooms, the chiles, and hot stock, and let soak for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into another bowl, squeezing as much liquid from the mushrooms as possible to get just under 1 1/2 cups—if you have any less, top up with water.
  2. Very roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms (you want some chunks) and finely chop the chili peppers. Set the stock and mushrooms aside separately.

Make the filling

  1. In the food processor, combine the onion, garlic, and carrot, and pulse until finely chopped or finely chop everything by hand.
  2. In a large sauté pan or pot over medium-high heat, warm 4 tablespoons oil. Once hot, add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes.
  3. In the food processor, pulse the tomatoes until finely chopped or finely chop by hand and then add them to the pan along with the tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes.
  4. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and chiles and the roasted mushrooms and cook for 9 minutes, stirring only once during the cooking. Resist the urge to stir more frequently; you want the mushrooms to be slightly crisp and browned on the bottom.
  5. Stir in the water and reserved stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until you get the consistency of a ragù, about 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in 7 tablespoons of the cream and simmer for 2 minutes more, then remove from the heat.
  7. In a small bowl, combine both cheeses, the basil, and 1/2 cup parsley.
  8. Spread 1/5 of the sauce in the bottom of a round 12-inch baking dish or a 9-by-13-inch rectangular dish, then top with 1/5 of the cheese mixture, followed by a layer of lasagna sheets, broken to fit where necessary. Repeat these layers 3 more times in that order. Finish with a final layer of sauce and cheese; that’s 5 layers of sauce, 5 layers of cheese, and 4 layers of pasta.
  9. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 450°F, and bake for 12 minutes more, rotating the dish halfway through.
  10. Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil until the edges are brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.
  11. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes or so, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon parsley and finish with a good grind of pepper. Serve immediately.


Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage

Go-To Quickie Dinner

What is one of your fall-back dinners when you really have nothing planned but need to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or so? One of our go-to recipes is based on pasta. We pretty much always have some in the pantry, and with a ground meat of some type such as beef, turkey, lamb, or sausage this becomes the basis for dinner.

And if there is no homemade red sauce in our freezer, we always have a commercial jar or two in the cupboard. Our current choice happens to be the great tasting White Linen brand with a low-sugar content which can be found at Costco. It weighs in at a hefty 40 ounces allowing for lots of add-ins.

We start with about a pound of pasta cooked to package directions, brown up a pound of ground meat, sauté chopped veggies and add some fresh herbs like basil or oregano. Top with grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Reggiano, pair with a side salad, dinner done!

There is so much flexibility with this meal concept. With a plethora of jarred sauce options, just select your favorite. However, you may have to use more than one jar’s worth if the volume is much less than 32 ounces. The following list of ingredients is for reference only—adjust the amounts according to your own preferences.

Every autumn we always harvest any leftover basil from our herb garden and blend it with some olive oil, fill silicone ice cube trays with the mixture, and freeze the cubes. They come in handy when making soups, dips, and sauces. We threw one in this sauce along with the jarred marinara.

Quickie Pasta with Meat Sauce and Vegetables

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 40 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 1 lb. ground meat such as beef, turkey, lamb or sausage
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, 3/4″ chop
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 8-12 oz. mushrooms, cremini or white, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Grated Parm or Pecorino for topping
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or oregano, chopped, more for for garnish


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan and when hot, add the ground meat. Cook until no longer pink, stirring often, about 8 minutes (depending on your meat of choice). Remove meat from pan to a cutting board and chop smaller if necessary.
  3. Add the chopped pepper and onion to the meat drippings, cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  4. Return the ground meat to the pan with the vegetables and pour in the jarred marinara sauce. Over medium heat, cook the sauce mixture until hot while the pasta finishes cooking.
  5. Drain the pasta when done. Stir the fresh herbs into the sauce and plate each serving in large bowls, topping each with grated cheese and more fresh herbs.


Persian-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup

Soup season always gets us excited because the options are endless—they can range from light and brothy, to heavy and creamy, and about everything in between. Here, this satisfying meal-in-a-bowl is a riff on the Persian dish called soup-e jo and came to us from Milk Street Magazine.

Though barley’s natural starch lends the soup body, béchamel, a mixture of butter, flour and milk, also is traditional for added richness and thickening. For ease, the béchamel is skipped and instead a tablespoon of flour is simply mixed into the sautéed onion and mushrooms, with a swirl of a little cream at the very end.

Fragrant spices give the soup color and complexity, and the fresh mint lifts and brightens the flavors. If you so choose, you can also include dill. The soup was hearty enough as a meal on it’s own, but a side salad would be a welcome addition.

TIP: Don’t use whole-grain barley, as it requires a significantly longer cooking time than pearled barley.

Persian-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered if small or medium, cut into eighths if large
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 qts. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint, dill or a combination, chopped


  1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms release moisture, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, turmeric, flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the barley and chicken, followed by the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in the cream and half of the herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining herbs.


Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street