Saturday I headed over to my mom’s and spent quality time with my family, it was a lot of fun. My niece, Rhea (aka… the junior chef), baked Coconut Macaroons from SCRATCH! They were absolutely delicious, my 13 year old niece is a genius!
I suppose I’m allowed to exaggerate that statement since she is my niece, right? She also baked Boxed Funfetti Cupcakes which were surprisingly good. Of course, no dessert session is complete without a cup of tea.
My mom made us a ton of delicious food and as usual gave me a large doggy bag to take home. As much as I complain that I don’t care for Indian food, I do admit enjoying my mom’s food on the days I come home from work is a real treat. I forgot to take a picture.
Sunday, my friend, MM came over to spend some time with me and my hubby. I made us Mushroom Cacciatore from scratch. You guys must have heard of Chicken Cacciatore, well, Mushroom Cacciatore is the vegetarian version of that. My inspiration for this dish… Rachael Ray.
Rachael’s recipe is pretty long and involved so I took a rather simple approach in making this dish by doing what came naturally to me. The end result – fantastic! The color of the sauce was a deep reddish-brown. The flavor was slightly sweet with a hint of red wine in the background.
Traditionally speaking, I’m not sure if Mushroom/Chicken Cacciatore is made with Red or White Wine, but since this was my creation with some inspiration from Ms. Ray, I went for Red Wine simply because I thought the color would go well with browned mushrooms.
I recommend making this aromatic dish for someone special. Eventhough there is a lot of chopping involved don’t be intimidated. At the end of the day it’s just food with basic ingredients. How bad can you possibly mess it up?
After enjoying a delicious meal I baked us some Mrs. Smith’s Apple Pie which I know my friend loves as much as I do. I know there are a ton of preservatives in this pie, ahem, but Mrs. Smiths’ Apple Pie is seriously delicious. Remember, all desserts in moderation. Enjoy!
NUTRITION: Mushrooms are a very good source of Vitamin B6 and Protein. Bell Peppers are a great source of Vitamins A, B6, and C.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp (mushrooms) + 1 tbsp (veggies)
- Crushed Red Pepper – 1/2 tsp (or 1 tsp if you like heat)
- Baby Portobello Mushrooms – 2 8 ounce boxes (roughly chopped)
- Garlic – 4 cloves (chopped)
- Onions – 2 medium (sliced)
- Green Bell Pepper – 1 (sliced & halved)
- Red Bell Pepper – 1 (sliced & halved)
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
- Oregano – 1 tsp
- salt to taste
- Red Wine – 1 cup (go for a dry wine, such as, Cabernet Sauvignon)… if you use White Wine, opt for a Chardonnay
- Crushed Tomatoes – 1 28 ounce can (you should really use San Marzano Canned Tomatoes from Italy)
- Pot of Water for pasta (boiled)
- Barilla Whole Grain Penne Pasta – 1 pound box
- Parmesan Cheese – 3/4 to 1 cup grated (use 1/2 cup and then the remaining)
- Basil – roughly chopped
1. Start by heating a pot of water on medium heat.
2. Here is what you’ll need.
3. Rough chop the mushrooms.
4. Heat a big pot on medium heat, once hot add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and crushed red pepper.
5. Add the mushrooms – DO NOT ADD SALT AT THIS TIME. Allow the mushrooms to brown.
6. The mushroom will cook for 15 minutes or so. They will release liquid as follows…
7. In the meantime, chop the veggies… garlic, onions, red & green bell peppers.
8. Back to the mushrooms, this is what you should have. Season with salt. Notice how the liquid has evaporated.
9. Add another tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it seems like a lot but we need the oil for the veggies.
10. Add the chopped veggies.
11. Add salt, black pepper, and oregano. Stir and allow this to cook for 7-10 minutes or until the veggies soften.
12. In the meantime, open your bottle of Red Wine and the Crushed Tomatoes.
13. This is how the veggie-mushroom mixture should look, add a cup of Red Wine.
14. Stir. Allow this to cook for 3-5 minutes.
15. Now add the crushed tomatoes. Stir and allow this to cook for 10 minutes.
16. Now check on your boiling water, season with salt and a teaspoon of oil so the pasta doesn’t stick. Add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes or until Al Dante.
17. In the meantime, grate the cheese and chop the basil.
18. Check on the sauce. Once it is done cooking, turn off the stove. Add the basil. Taste it and check for salt. Stir.
19. Check on the pasta, drain it. Add the pasta back to the same pot.
20. Add 1/2 cup of cheese to the pasta. Stir well.
21. Now add about 5 ladles of the sauce to the pasta, or 2/3 of the sauce.
SERVE AS FOLLOWS:
23. Add the pasta to a serving bowl.
24. Top with the reserved sauce.
25. Top with parmesan cheese.
26. Top with basil.
27. Or you can follow steps 23-26 and present this dish in a large serving dish.
28. After 10 minutes, this is what happens. Indulge with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.