Are y’all ready for a super easy, super fast, family-friendly dinner that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes? I thought so. Mushroom kale pasta for the win.
This week is nutso for us. Cameron has freelance jobs every night this week. Cassian is busy with baseball and Asher just learned how to crawl, which means that my days are spent digging random junk from his mouth that he’s uncovered from the darkest corners of our living spaces. Rosie the Roomba is gonna be working overtime the next few months.
This week I’m all over fast and easy dinners. And even though Cass has requested mac n’cheese at least 3 times, I haven’t caved (yet). Last night this mushroom kale pasta saved dinner. With just a few simple ingredients and some leftover wine, dinner was on the table in less than a half hour. Full and happy bellies for all, with time to spare for a walk after dinner. I swear I felt like a freaking super hero.
Cooking with Wine
Julia Child famously said “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food”. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll see that I take her advice to heart (at least the latter part). Exhibit A…and B…and C.
Wine is a really easy way to impart deep flavor to most dishes. It adds depth and sweetness to tomato sauce, and subtle acidity to sautéed vegetables. Hands down my favorite way to cook with wine is in a quick pan sauce, like in this mushroom kale pasta. I sauté the mushrooms in butter until they are golden brown and crispy, toss in some herbs, and deglaze the whole mess with a few glugs of dry white wine. Instant savory sauce with the perfect balance of fat and acidity. Heaven.
Mushroom Kale Pasta Recipe Notes
I used baby kale because it’s what I had in the fridge, but baby spinach or swiss chard would be delicious as well. I went for a baby variety here because it only takes a minute or two to wilt. If you have extra time and want to go for the mature versions of any dark leafy green, go for it.
The herbs I potted last month are finally gaining some steam, so I grabbed a few springs of rosemary and sage for this recipe. But don’t limit yourself – lots of fresh herbs will work for this recipe, including thyme, tarragon, oregano, and basil.
A note on garnishes. For pasta dishes, I like to season at the table with flaky table salt (like maldon) and cracked pepper. Feel free to season in the pan, this is simply a personal preference. I also added some toasted pine nuts because I found a stash in the pantry. If you have some, fresh parmesan would be a nice touch as well.
Make it Vegan: substitute olive or avocado oil for the butter
Make it Gluten-Free: use gluten-free pasta
Make it Carnivorous: add grilled chicken or salmon, or pan-seared shrimp. For shrimp, add them just after the mushrooms have finished sautéing. Push the mushrooms to the edges of the pan, add a bit more fat, then add the shrimp and sauté until pink, 3-5 minutes depending on size. Then proceed with the remainder of the recipe.
- ½ lb whole grain pasta
- 1-2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh herbs, minced (any combination of rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, oregano, etc.)
- ½ c. dry white wine
- 2 big handfuls baby kale
- ½ lemon, juiced
- maldon salt, to taste, for garnish
- cracked black pepper, to taste, for garnish
- ¼ c. toasted pine nuts, for garnish
- In a large stock pot, bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1-2 tbsp kosher salt and boil the pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta water is coming to a boil and the pasta cooks, prepare the vegetables and pan sauce.
- Place a large, heavy bottomed skillet (like cast iron) over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and heat until it foams. Add the mushrooms to the pan plus a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté the mushrooms in batches until browned and crispy. Once you are finished with one batch, simply push the mushrooms to the edges of the pan, add a bit more butter, wait until the butter foams, and add more mushrooms plus another pinch of sea salt. Continue until all the mushrooms are sautéd, 15-20 minutes.
- Push all mushrooms to the edges of the pan. Add another teaspoon of butter to the center of the pan, and add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the minced herbs over the mushrooms and stir everything together. Sauté, stirring continuously, until the herbs are fragrant, but still bright, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the wine over the mushrooms and herbs. After the initial fizzle, add the greens to the pan and sauté with the mushrooms and pan sauce until the greens barely wilt, 1- 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the mushrooms, greens, and pan sauce immediately. Dress with the juice from ½ a lemon. Divide onto 4 plates and garnish with salt, pepper, and pine nuts. Serve immediately.
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