So I am sure that everyone reading this that lives in the GTA would agree with me that this weather we have been having for the past few days has been just amazing! So we have been out on the BBQ a fair bit, just because cooking outside keeps the apartment a much nicer temperature. However, the evenings have been cool for the past few days, and so the kitchen seemed to be the place to be on those days. Nothing wrong with that, especially because it gave us a chance to test drive this new recipe that we have been dying to try… Mushroom and Asparagus Fettuccine sounded good to us right from the start, but the title doesn’t do the dish justice. There are no words in the English language that are descriptive enough to be able to help you understand the experience that you can have with this dish.
First of all, shiitake and cremini mushrooms are SUPER good for you! And yet, a lot of people are not aware of just how healthy mushrooms can be. “Shiitake mushrooms are a great addition to anyone’s diet and are mainly known for their immune system support,” says local dietitian Kait Fortunato. They contain lentinan, which makes our immune system strong, helping to fight off disease and infection. The American Cancer Society says lentinan is believed to stop or slow tumor growth, too, though it notes that more clinical trials are needed to understand the mushrooms’ effectiveness.
“Shiitake mushrooms also contain a compound called D-Eritadenine (DEA),” adds Fortuna. DEA helps lower cholesterol and supports cardiovascular health.
Finally, shiitakes are a good source of iron and antioxidants. The iron is key for vegetarians, whose diets may be lacking in it, while antioxidants help reduce free radicals.
So naturally, these surprisingly meaty and satisfying mushrooms are one of our Heroic Health-Recommended Foods. You can replace just about any mushrooms in any recipe with shiitake mushrooms and have fabulous results.
But back to the point! We were inside the apartment the other evening, and this dish seemed to be the thing on the menu. We especially love that it uses not just one or two, but three cloves of garlic! The pine nuts add a nice touch, and the fact that the veggies are in season right now just makes it that much better. All of the flavours come together ever so nicely to create a smooth, creamy and totally satisfying summer dinner.
Mushroom and Asparagus Fettuccine:
- 8-oz. dried fettuccine or linguine
- 8-oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1½” pieces
- 3 cups sliced fresh shiitake or crimini mushrooms
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced, or ½ cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 cup mushroom broth or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup vanilla or unflavoured soy milk
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. finely shredded fresh basil
- 1 tbsp. finely shredded fresh oregano
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
1) Cook fettuccine or linguine according to package directions, adding asparagus the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking; drain. Return pasta mixture to saucepan; cover and keep warm
2) Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook mushrooms, leek, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in broth, soy milk, salt, and black pepper. Bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in tomatoes, basil, and oregano; heat through
3) Spoon the mushroom mixture over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Divide among 4 bowls or dinner plates. Sprinkle with pine nuts and, if desired, Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately