Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Mushroom and Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce for Pasta

If, like me, you love mushrooms. pasta, and creamy sauces, you will want to make this sauce.  It comes together quickly and easily and tastes delicious! In my case, I had some leftover diced tomatoes in a carton in my refrigerator and so combined that with some chopped fresh tomatoes to form the base of the sauce.  Always try to figure out ways to use leftover ingredients in your refrigerator to avoid waste.  It helps the environment as well as your wallet! Reducing garbage is good for the planet.  Next, try to find local sources for the vegetables and herbs.  You might be able to find mushrooms at your farmer's market.  Although I used cremini mushrooms here, I am sure that any kind of mushrooms would be great.  A mix of wild mushrooms would be awesome!  Perhaps you are growing thyme in your herb garden, or in a pot on your windowsill?  Tomatoes are not yet in season where I live, but if you are in a warmer climate, maybe you have access to local tomatoes.  Or maybe you are reading this in early August, way past the time I originally posted it, when fresh tomatoes are plentiful everywhere!

If you are a really ambitious cook, you can try making your pasta from scratch, saving the planet from the fossil fuels that go into factory food production.  Pat yourself on the back. Otherwise, just remember that every little bit counts.  You can buy a box of pasta for a much easier meal.  Counter that with another action that demonstrates environmental awareness and an effort to reduce the taxation of planetary resources in order to eat. Idea: store leftovers in a bowl covered with a plate instead of in a plastic bag. Reuse a glass jar as a storage container.

Ok, enough about environmental consciousness.  Let's get cooking!

5 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 large onion, diced
1 large clove garlic (or 2 regular sized cloves), pressed
3 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh, canned or a combination)
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 TBS olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper (substitute cayenne or crushed red pepper if you don’t have Aleppo)

Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Saute diced onions until translucent.  Lower heat. Add garlic, stir for about a minute, just enough to release flavor. Be sure not to burn the garlic.  Add mushrooms, thyme leaves stripped from stems, and salt.  Grind fresh pepper over all.  Turn up heat to medium. Saute mushrooms until they are brown, stirring occasionally. 

Add chopped tomatoes and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 25 minutes or so.  Add vodka and cook over medium heat until liquid has mostly evaporated. Add cream and cook until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Aleppo pepper. Serve over pasta. Makes enough for about 5-6 servings.

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