Alcoholic Pasta

This is my last week of vacation before I start work next week, so I thought I’d attempt a new recipe and a new style of blog post. I think the key word here is ATTEMPT.

Please bear with me. I tried to recreate this amazing-looking recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but due to some kitchen limitations and my refusal to go to the grocery store two times in two days, my end result fell slightly short- but was still delicious! I realize that my pictures probably don’t convey the full tastiness of the ingredients, but that’s just cause I suck at taking photos. My bad.

My ingredients. Yes, that IS a lot of alcohol. Hence the name. The original recipe called for chicken broth, but I didn’t have any and I didn’t feel like getting some. So I decided to sub in some light beer I found in the fridge. Genius or Insanity? Only time will tell. I also had a very pathetic looking hunk of onion. If I made this again, I would use a whole onion. Or at least a half. I swear!

Wow, I really am lazy when it comes to cooking, huh.

First things first. Heat up a few swigs of olive oil and butter over medium heat. Or, if you’re impatient like me, medium-high heat. I like using the little butter pattys they give you in restaurants- it’s perfect built-in sizing!

Dump in your tub of cute little baby bella mushrooms. I like these babies because they save you the step of having to chop up your mushrooms. Less prep time = more fun time!

At the same time, start boiling the water for your pasta. Cooking, I’ve learned, is rather like business school. It’s all about multi-tasking and being able to think on your feet!

Now, the original recipe called for roasting the mushrooms separately, but I didn’t feel like doing that. So I used a large frypan, and sauteed the babies for a couple minutes until they started sweating (see the moisture in the picture?).

Around this time, the pasta water began boiling, so I dumped in my penne pasta. Ignore that claw in the upper left hand corner. PS I used a mason jar to store the pasta before adding it in. Just cause it looked pretty, and that’s the way I roll.

Tip: if you are a lazy cooker like me and don’t want to have to switch out pans, just move yo pan over a little further! This especially works if you were supposed to be frying a whole onion, but you only have a pitiful tiny bit to cook. Mushrooms and onions, can’t they all just get along? YES.

While the veggies comingle, pull out the whiskey! Note the use of the pasta mason jar to measure out the Jim. Mom, if you’re reading this, we need some measuring cups. In a big way.

Dump the whiskey and the wine, followed by the beer. Stand in front of your stove. Lean forward. Take a deep whiff. Try not to get too intoxicated. Seriously. Simmer.

Now here’s where things got a little dicey. I didn’t have any cream (cream is not the best thing to stock up on at a vacation home). So, I pulled out a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and mixed it into the broth to give it a little creaminess and bulk.

By now the pasta should be done, or close to being done. Drain and set aside.

Tip: reserve some of the pasta water in your measuring cup (in my case, the mason jar) in case you want to mix it in later. If you’re like me, I always end up forgetting to save the pasta water until it’s too late and everything’s spiraled down the drain. Fail.

Confession: I felt that the broth wasn’t creamy enough, so I lost my head and poured in some milk. Fat free milk. I would advise you not to do that. But I did. The world didn’t end. I merely had to stand over the heat and stir a little longer to reduce the liquid and thicken it up a bit more.

Stir in the pasta, and h/eat everything up. Nom nom nom.

Tip: Use the cooking downtime to clean up the kitchen. This way there isn’t a giant mess waiting for you once you’re done eating. I also like to use a bowl, or in this case the mushroom tub, to hold all the trash. Then, you can just dump a nice and neat package into your trashcan. Genius!

I think in the future I’d make this recipe again, but I would definitely try to adhere a little closer to the original recipe. In any case, if you are like me and like experimenting with what’s in your kitchen, here’s MY version of the recipe.

Alcoholic Pasta
(adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Whiskey, Wine and Mushrooms)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Baby Portobello mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Butter
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Peeled And Sliced
  • 1/3 cup Wine (I used red because I had a bottle on hand, but white would work well also)
  • 1/4 cups Whiskey (I used Jim Beam)
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Broth/Light Beer
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese
  • 1/3 cup Cream
  • 8 ounces penne pasta, cooked Al Dente (or however much pasta you have left in the box)

How To:

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for 2-4 minutes, or until mushrooms start to sweat.

Throw in the sliced onions and saute for a few minutes, or until they begin to turn translucent. Pour in wine and whiskey and simmer for a minute or two. Pour in broth/beer and allow the liquid to reduce for a couple of minutes. Stir in cheese wedge until mixed in with broth. Reduce heat and cook until sauce has reduced and thickened sufficiently. With heat on low, stir in cream gently.

Toss in cooked pasta, using a little hot pasta water if sauce needs a little thinning.

EAT.

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