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. 

Ingredients
1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

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

Vegan Sunflower Pesto

Building on the idea of my vegan incarnation of Alton Brown's Cacio e Pepe, I decided to try a pesto style variation. I added basil and spinach as well as a few other touches. It comes together fairly easily. Most things go into the food processor to make the pesto.

It's a creamy, rich version of basil pesto that's totally veganized.

It's easy too. Just cook the pasta. Buzz up the pesto and combine.

2/3 cup sunflower seeds
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
2 tbls vegan mayo
1/3 cup pasta water

1/2 box spaghetti

Cook pasta according to Alton's cold water pasta method.

Process the pesto ingredients until pasty. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in pasta water to form a loose, soupy sauce. Toss in spaghetti. Use tongs to coat in the sauce. Stir vigorously with a spoon to incorporate mayo.