Have I ever mentioned that when I was little I didn’t like mushrooms? Hated them, really. If they were on my plate I’d tell my parents I couldn’t eat them because they’d make me sleepy.
Yeah, I have no idea where I came up with that either. Thankfully for me, I’m #4, so by that point my parents didn’t put up a fuss, tell me to take just two bites and then I could be done, or anything of the sort. Like most of my childhood, they rolled their eyes and went on with their lives, probably thinking, “Okay, that’s only two – no fish, no mushrooms. It could be worse. She could hate lunchmeat. Or fruit cocktail.”
But then, sometime after college, I discovered that for the previous two decades I’d been wrong. Turns out, I actually love the mushroom. I’d always thought they smelled so good when sautéing in oodles of butter or olive oil, and the wafts of flavor that would hit your nose when grilling them were delectable. I was over at my friend Denise’s house one weekend, and there we were, grilling out, and she’d skewered some mushrooms and squash and thrown them on the barbie. I ogled them as she plated them, then decided why the shit not, spearing one with my fork and popping it in my mouth.
And thus, my prejudices against the mushroom crumbled and fell like the motherfucking Berlin wall. United for vegetables!
There aren’t a whole lot of ingredients to this dish, which is a perfect excuse, then, to make your friend Julie bring over a loaf of French bread, wine, and mini cheesecakes from Whole Foods to go with it all. If you don’t have a friend Julie, then I highly recommend getting one.
The great thing about this dish is that it can be made relatively quickly, too. Which is good, because if you like what I’ve been throwing at you so far, you’re going to want to nom the shit out of this ASAP.
First, take a pound of cremini mushrooms and clean them. Because dirty mushrooms are gross. I don’t care how good or bad of a cook you are, nobody wants to crunch on ‘shroom dirt in the middle of a delicious pasta meal. (Some people will tell you never to rinse mushrooms with water because they’ll absorb it, but I’ve pretty much told those people to go to hell. I’ve never had any problem with mushrooms after throwing them in a colander and giving them a quick bath under the faucet.)
Toss them with some olive oil and salt and pepper.
Because it’s delicious, that’s why, don’t ask questions just trust This Girl, okay?
Then throw them on a baking sheet in a 500 degree oven for five minutes. Flip the mushrooms, then throw them back in the oven for another five minutes.
Eventually these hot ‘shrooms will cool down a bit, and you’ll want to slice them in quarters, or however you see fit. Maybe eighths. Maybe simply in half. Maybe you don’t want to slice them at all. I’m not here to judge. I’m not here to tell you what to do. Okay, I kind of am, but there’s room for your own interpretation.
ANYWAY, while that’s happening, cook up some angel hair pasta. Or, again, whatever kind of pasta you like. This sauce works very well with a long noodle, to that I can attest, but someday I might go a little wild and try it with ziti. Or cavatappi. Don’t try and stop me.
And then comes the fun part.
I can’t get enough of chives.
I really can’t. I lurv them so. You have no idea.
I was hoping that The Swede would plant some chives in part of his garden plot, but no such luck for This Girl. He did plant basil, and a tomato, and he already has a rockin’ rosemary plant and parsley plant that I snatch from quite frequently. But no chives. I begged and begged for him to plant chives. I was all, “But I lurv chives! I lurv them so! Why won’t you grow chives?”
And as he held his hands in front of him and cautiously backed away from me, he was all, “Woman, instead of chives I am going to grow my lurv for you, which right now is not so easy because you have the crazy eyes. Maybe you should lay off the herbs for awhile.”
And I was all, “Don’t hate on my chive lurv!”
And he was all, “…..”
And I was all, “Fine.”
Excuse me, I have to pout for a minute.
Okay! All better!
Aren’t they pretty?
Pretty as they are, chop them up. The recipe calls for about a cup, but, erm, I really like chives, so I maaay have added a little bit more than the recipe calls for. No harm, no foul. All is well.
If you have a food processor or a blender, you can make the sauce in that, but since I have neither, I pulled out my handy immersion blender and went to town. (Note: I made this recipe once before, pre-immersion blender, and essentially just snipped the chives then tried to beat them into some sort of pureed madness with my handheld mixer. I’ll give you one guess as to how well that worked out. Don’t judge me, it was early(ish) on in my “trying to be the Great Experimenter” in the kitchen and be all, “I’m Innovative!” and yeah, it didn’t work, but the dish still tasted pretty decent, but this second time around it was 10,789 times better.)
You’ve got the chives, a dash of salt and pepper, and some olive oil.
Stick the blender in and blend, lovelies. Blend to your heart’s content.
Isn’t the color simply marvy? I mean, look at it. LOOK AT IT!
Green is one of my favorite colors.
Particularly when it’s a bright, almost electric green that comes from freshly blended chives.
Now that makes for a very happy This Girl.
And then when it’s blended and creamy and smelling absolutely delicious, go back and make sure those first two things – the pasta and the mushrooms – are ready to go. Pasta drained? Mushrooms roasted and sliced to your liking?
Okay, good. Now toss those three components together. At some point, I think you’re also supposed to toss in some romano cheese as well, but I do believe I forgot that step, so I sprinkled it on top at the end. Nobody seemed to mind.
I know I didn’t.
Note – if you want, reserve a little of the pasta water before you drain your pasta, and toss it in with the emulsified chives and oil and pasta. This will help the sauce stick to the pasta a little better. But only dribble in a bit at a time – don’t go crazy with the pasta water, or you might end up with really watery chive oil pasta, which, hi, ew. As my Mom used to say (really? Yes.) “It’s easier to add in than to take out.” She’s full of wisdom, that Kathleen.
When it’s all mingling nicely, all the pasta coated with the chives and the mushrooms lazing about in the tangles of angel hair, dish it up. Give a heaping portion to your friend Julie, then give yourself a heaping portion, too.
Pour yourself some wine and dig in. And if you need to unbutton your pants later for better breathing capabilities, no one will judge you. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Cremini Mushroom and Chive Pasta, courtesy of the Washington Post. Click here for the recipe.