Brown butter shiitake pesto pasta

FullSizeRender (3).jpgThis isn’t a recipe. This is me wanting pasta and then looking in the fridge, seeing what I have and working with what I find.

Ingredients:FullSizeRender (2).jpg

Half an onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

3 small potatoes or 1 large potato, peeled and chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 package of shiitake mushrooms, wiped with a damp paper towel and chopped

½ stick butter, unsalted

1 package of ground beef, 80/20

½ cup prepared pesto sauce

6 oz. of pasta shells

[Feeds 3-4]


FullSizeRender (4).jpgI encourage you to prep all of your ingredients beforehand, whatever vegetables and foods you may use, and then sort them according to when you need to cook them.

When you prep the mushrooms, don’t rinse them with water. They’re porous, so they soak up whatever moisture they touch, and they’ll be very soggy and flavorless. Instead, wipe them down with a damp paper towel.FullSizeRender (5).jpg

FullSizeRender (6).jpgCook hearty vegetables (sweet potato, potato, carrots) with the pasta with lots of salt. As long as they are all roughly the same size as each other and the pasta, they will all be tender about the same time.

FullSizeRender (7).jpgSaute the onions and garlic in a bit of oil for a few minutes with s&p until the onions start to become translucent, then add the beef, and break it up well. Season with more s&p, and cook until the beef is browned, onions are translucent, and liquid at the bottom of the pan has evaporated. Feel free to add spices here, I added some turmeric, some red chili flakes, some cumin and some lemon pepper. Then I transferred the beef mixture to a plate.

FullSizeRender (8).jpg
Brown the butter over medium-high heat until it looks like this, light brown and foamy on top. It smells nice and nutty.

Okay, so then I melted half a stick of butter in a pan until it browned, then I added the chopped shrooms in. S&p, and then let those shrooms soak up the butter! Then transfer that mixture to a plate.

FullSizeRender (9).jpg
The shiitakes soaked up most of the butter!

In that screaming hot pan, cook down the tomatoes for a few minutes. It should be steamy, and you don’t need to fry the tomatoes, but cook them in the pan until the skin is a little blistered.

Okay, so by now the pasta should definitely be cooked, so reserve a spoonful of starchy pasta water (mixes well with the pesto and helps bind everything together, makes the sauce nice and creamy) and drain the pasta and root vegetables. In the pot, mix the pesto, the beef mixture, the mushrooms and the tomatoes. Add the starchy pasta water and mix well.

If I had parmigiano reggiano, I would have grated some on top, but legit, this was DELICIOUS. I especially loved the mushrooms.FullSizeRender (10).jpg

FullSizeRender (11).jpgThanks to my sister for taking pictures of me and watching along hungrily as I took my time making our lunch.


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