Wild Mushroom Pasta

I'm a big fan of Good Eats and Alton Brown. I've learned a lot from him. So when he suggested that dried exotic mushrooms were an umani flavor bomb I took to amazon to procure some. 

When you only cook with and eat plants, sources of deep and real flavor are important. 

His advice was spot on. I got a dried exotic mushroom mix and used it in my pressure cooker to create a sauce/broth for pasta and even though I forgot to add olive oil, it still had tons of flavor. 
After the pressure cook was finished I added the oil I forgot and cooked it off for a  few minutes. I then stirred it into my precooked pasta. Let it rest 5 minutes to tighten up. It was a perfect sauce to enrobe my pasta. . 

Dried exotic mushrooms are not cheap. But if you don't eat/cook with animal products, they feel like a bargain. There's so much flavor to be had. It's worth it and then some. 

1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

2 ounces dried fancy mushroom mix, big pieces broken or diced
1 pint …

Blistered Grape Tomatoes and White Wine Pasta

We're really keeping it simple with this one. Clean flavors. Minimal ingredients to let the fresh stuff shine.

8 ounces dry pasta, cooked al dente, plus a 1/4 cup of cooking water reserved
2 pint packages multicolor grape tomatoes, sliced into halves
2 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic sliced thinly

1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbls olive oil

2 tsps dry basil
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

In a very large skillet cook pasta and set aside with the reserved water.

In same skillet heat oil,  saute tomatoes with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook until tomatoes they begin to soften and release their juice. Add garlic and spinach. Wilt spinach. Add wine. Cook several more minutes. Add back pasta and water. Add 1 tsp basil. Stir to combine everything and continue simmering to reduce for 5 more minutes.

Taste. Add remaining basil, salt and pepper as needed.

When measuring spices use the top of the jar. You don't want to shake spices directly over a hot pan because the moisture causes them to clump. You could also accidentally add way too much.

Measuring them in your hand is messy.

Using a measuring spoon gives you another item to clean.

Unscrew the top of the spice bottle and pour your spices and herbs into the inverted cap. If you pour out too much you can just shake it back inside. A cap full from a standard small spice jar is about one tablespoon. A cap full from the slightly larger spice bottles is around 2 tablespoons. A teaspoon is 1/3 of a tablespoon. The cap on the really big one is around 1/4 cup.