Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine dinner 'shroom and spinach pasta with tomato-red pepper cream

Who makes a fancy Valentine's dinner out of leftovers? Well, me.  But this one worked out very nicely, taking advantage of what-I-found-in-the-fridge:  Crimini mushrooms, fresh spinach, a couple of leftover canned tomatoes; onions and garlic and spaghetti.

Here's how it went together, too easy for a formal recipe:  Discard the spinach stems and chop the leaves coarsely. Rinse and de-stem the mushrooms and cut them into thick slices. Thinkly slice about 1/2 of a medium sweet onion. Mince a big garlic clove, or several.

Brown the onions, then the garlic and finally the sliced mushrooms in olive oil until the onions are browned and the 'shrooms cooked down a bit. Stir in the chopped spinach and stir with the mushrooms, garlic and onions until the spinach just wilts. Stir and set aside.

While you're simmering the pasta in salted boiling water, make a simple bechamel with a roux of 2 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in 1/2 cup warmed milk and whisk until you have a thick white sauce. Chop the tomatoes and stir them with their juice into the sauce with about half of a small jar of chopped roasted red peppers or pimentos.   Stir the reserved sauteed mushrooms and spinach into this sauce and mix well; drain the pasta and top it with this sauce.

We served it with one of Mary's favorite French (Loire) red wines, Puzelat 2012 Touraine Pineau d'Aunis.