Friday, February 27, 2009

Portobello Mushrooms With Leek, Garlic and Tomato Sauce Over Noodles

This is an easy dish to prepare and makes a very tasty, very satisfying vegetarian meal. The recipe below makes 4 servings.

Portobello mushrooms are a great meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. They have their own rich mushroom flavor, they have a nice firm texture, and they will take up the flavors of whatever they are cooked with.

In this dish, we sauté up the mushrooms first with butter, olive oil and seasonings, then set them aside. They are then added to the sauce for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Here's the recipe:

4 medium sized Portobello mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 small leeks or 1 medium to large leek, chopped (*)
1 16-oz can chopped tomatoes (**)
2/3 cup vegetable stock
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp rubbed sage (***)
2 tsp thyme (***)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz. wide egg noodles
Fresh shaved Parmesan cheese

(*) Use only the white and tenderest green part of the leeks; don't worry about having too much leek as it has a very mild flavor so there's lots of leeway.

(**) These days cans are running 15 oz or eve 14.5 oz -- don't worry about that either, just use a can, it will be fine. Also you can get different varieties of canned chopped tomotoes these days -- I used one with garlic and basil this time.

(***) If the sage or thyme are fresh, double or triple these amounts. If they are dried and getting old (i.e. losing their flavor), go ahead and use more too.

Place about 1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil in a frying pan, adding about 1/3 of the black pepper, sage and thyme, and heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is thin and slides around. Place 1/3 of the mushroom slices in the pan and sauté them gently, first on one side and then on the other side, until they have absorbed the butter and oil -- about 2 minutes in all. Remove them from the pan and do the same procedure with the rest of the mushroom slices.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter and olive oil to the frying pan, and tently sauté the chopped leeks and garlic, until the leeks start to become transparent and break up. Now add the canned chopped tomatoes, the vegetable broth, and the balsamic vinegar to the sauce and bring it up to a boil, then turn it on low to simmer.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the noodles.

Now while the noodles are boiling, remove the cover from the sauce and allow the liquid to simmer on medium heat to reduce it.

When the sauce is reduced and the noodles are ready, add the mushrooms back into the sauce and stire them gently in -- we don't want to break them up, we want nice big robust mushroom slices in this dish. Let them simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Test the flavor, adding salt to taste if needed.

To serve: place a bed of noodles on each plate, spoon mushrooms and sauce over the noodles. Top with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese. With bread, a green salad, and wine or sparkling juice, this makes an elegant and satisfying vegetarian meal, suitable for company.


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