This is the time of year that I find myself totally craving comfort. Wooly tights. Flannel sheets. Knit caps. Fuzzy sweaters. Heavy quilts. I think it’s because I get a little run down with work and all the craft fairs that pop up around this season. And craft fairs are hard work. I never realized how sore my smile muscles could get until I entered the craft fair circuit. It’s kind of a big change from working from home, let me tell you. Which reminds me, thank you to everyone who came around to my table at Got Craft this past Sunday! Thank you for saying hi and making me blush! And if you’re in Vancouver and want to pick up a few more paper doo-dads, I’ll be at Toque as a fundraiser for the Western Front this Friday and Saturday.
And speaking of comfort, there’s something about this dish that seems like old-fashioned comfort food. Maybe because this dish is various shades of brown. Or maybe it’s the pasta which is always welcome this time of year, but I think the meaty mushrooms lend some earthy appeal. Don’t skimp! I used baby ‘bellas here, but I think a good mix of wild mushrooms would really kind of make my mouth go wild in a good way. There’s lots of garlic and the caramelized onions add some nice sweetness. I wasn’t sure what kind of herb to throw in and when I spied a bottle of herbs du provence (a mixture containing fennel, savoury, thyme, basil, lavender, etc.) it just seemed like the right thing to do and it worked really well. Of course, I thought lemon juice would go nicely here and next time I might add in some of the zest as well for extra zing.
When you’re run ragged with work and all the busy stuff that seems to crop up at this time of year, you need a little bit of comfort and ease around the dinner table. Even when that table is just the warm spot on the couch as you catch up on your latest tv craving. But just as this dinner is easy to whip up in about 30 minutes, it’s also perfect to serve at a casual gathering of your bestest friends. Just a bottle or two of your favorite wine and maybe some fresh parsley or basil to sprinkle overtop and you’re good.
elsewhere: The other morning was chilly and I wanted something warming so I made a batch of delicious oat and nutmeg scones. They were perfect little bites of quiet happiness. Get the recipe over at Poppytalk. You won’t regret it.
spaghetti & mushrooms
250 g spaghetti
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly into strips
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 lb baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 t sea salt
1 t aleppo pepper
1 t herbs de provence
1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 lemon, juiced
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in spaghetti. Add in a little salt if you remember. Let it simmer over medium heat until almost al dente……
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onion slices. Saute until soft and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Toss in mushrooms, garlic, salt, aleppo pepper and herbs de provence. Stir everything around until the mushrooms release some of their moisture. Pour in stock and let simmer and reduce slightly.
How’s that spaghetti doing? Almost al dente? Then strain out most of the cooking liquid, but reserve about 2-4 tablespoons of cooking water with the spaghetti and toss the whole shebang into the skillet. Toss with the mushroom mixture, squeeze in the lemon juice, toss again, and serve in deep bowls with Parmesan cheese if desired.