Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms, Ricotta Cheese and Garlic-A Comfort Food Recipe for the Weary!
Less than 30 Minutes to Heaven!
If you are looking for a quick and easy, meat free meal that is ready in under 30 minutes, but tastes like it took all day, try this one. Comfort food should bring comfort not only to the family, but to the cook as well. Because this one is so easy to make, the cook won't be exhausted by the time he or she is finished cooking. It is one of my favorites and being Italian, serves as a base for many other dishes. You can add spinach to this one, if you want, but I would suggest that you first just try it as follows:
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 8 to 16 ounces of fresh, chopped button mushrooms (depending on how much you like mushrooms)
- 1 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 1 pound of angel hair pasta (I always use Barilla pasta. In over 40 years of cooking, it is by far the best I have found!)
- 1 to 2 cups of pasta water
Fill your pasta pot with water and while you are bringing it to a boil, you should be able to prepare the other ingredients. In a large pan (I use a 13 inch, deep frying pan), melt the butter and add the olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add the green onions and the garlic. Sauté gently, until the onions and garlic are just tender. Add the mushrooms and salt and sauté til tender. Once you add the salt, the mushrooms will give off some liquid, which is what you want. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, turn off the heat.
When your pasta pot is boiling, add about 1 Tablespoon of salt to the water. I don't include this in the ingredients, because all pasta water should have salt added to it. Then drop your angel hair pasta and cook as directed on the package, usually about 4 to 5 minutes or al dente. Before you drain your pasta into the colander, scoop out about 2 cups of the water that the pasta has cooked in and set aside.
Drain your pasta and return it to the pasta pot. Turn the heat on under the saucepan and add the ricotta to the mushroom mixture. As it is heating, stir in some of the pasta water. I use close to the 2 cups. This will create enough of a sauce for your angel hair and the pasta will absorb most of the sauce. Just heat this through. It does not have to boil, just get it hot enough to melt the ricotta. Pour over the angel hair and while tossing with tongs, keep the heat on low. When the pasta and sauce are combined, turn off the heat. Serve with some Parmesan cheese and maybe a simple green salad. This will serve 4 people as a main dish and should qualify as a vegetarian meal.
Another simple variation is to add fresh spinach. I prefer it this way, but my son does not. When adding spinach, I recommend fresh. Clean up to a half of a pound of spinach. Dry it in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Chop the spinach, discarding any tough stems and add it to the mushroom garlic mix just prior to adding the ricotta and pasta water. It will wilt in a minute or two, especially when you stir it in. Then proceed with the remaining instructions.