Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Champagne and Pasta

This summer I took an online food writing course from a colleague, for which one of our exercises was to create a recipe and then write it up to fit the style of three different magazines. After doing some research to find ingredients that seem to pair well with champagne, I created this recipe which we enjoyed again with friends, last evening.

The earthy taste of portobellos merges beautifully with champagne in a rich, seductive sauce. But if you're not a champagne fan or don't want champagne 'leftovers,' you can substitute chardonnay.

Champagne Parmesan Pasta Sauce with Portobellos

Makes eight, 1/4 cup servings

2 cups portobello mushrooms, chopped in about 1/4" pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons dry champagne

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup dry champagne
1 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 - 2 cups grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons sherry

grated Parmesan

For the mushrooms: Using paper towel, remove excess dirt from surface of mushrooms and dice. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute garlic until soft and lightly browned. Add mushrooms and saute over medium heat until soft and glossy, about 2-3 minutes. Add champagne and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

For the sauce: Melt butter in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, add flour and stir continuously until smooth. Add milk and continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken and bubble slightly. Add champagne, nutmeg and sherry and reduce heat to low. Slowly add Parmesan, stirring to create a smooth, creamy consistency. Stir in mushrooms, and then add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve over pasta with additional Parmesan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Going Green in the Kitchen

I recently 'went green' in my kitchen with a pair of gloves from Williams-Sonoma. I didn't like my latex gloves from the grocery store anymore and these babies were just the right substitute. They shed water just as well as latex but they're more comfortable and durable.

Start with three-ply vinyl in green, lilac, lemon, or fuchsia and then add a 100-percent cotton liner. Make them machine washable and dry-able, multiple times, and they're well worth the $12 price tag.