dinner · pasta · vegetarian

Kraft Singles and Creamy Mushroom Pasta

I wasn’t always a good cook. I used to eat things that I would never even consider now. In college, for example, I had very bad eating habits. And, no, I’m not talking about your typical ramen, easy mac, pizza, and too much booze problem (but I’m guilty of that, too). I’m talking about putting Kraft singles (errr… the generic kind, because, I was, after all, a very poor art major) on my spaghetti. I know. I was a fucking moron.

My roommate and I used to frequent the local Olive Garden in our pajamas (obviously), and I was obsessed with their five cheese marinara sauce. After awhile, I decided to make my own version. This consisted of jarred pasta sauce poured over spaghetti noodles, then microwaved with a cheese single on top. If that wasn’t bad enough, I would also take a slice of white bread, spread the top with margarine (gak!), sprinkle with garlic powder, and microwave it. It was practically the same as going out to a restaurant.

I was 19. It wasn’t my fault. My brain hadn’t developed yet.

The first decent meal I ever learned to cook was pasta, because, seriously, that processed cheese shit was not food. It started with shrimp scampi, and moved on to lasagna (which we’ll get into someday). But my absolute favorite pasta dish in the world is the creamy mushroom variety. It literally has all my favorite foods in one dish – cream, butter, mushrooms, basil. I keep thinking about adding onions or tomatoes to this dish, but, I’m telling you, it doesn’t need it. Just don’t do it. Keep it simple, and you won’t be sorry.

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So, I learned from the movie (and book/blog) Julie and Julia that you aren’t supposed to “crowd the mushrooms.” Clearly, as you can see in the photo above, I am not good at this. I just can’t fucking wait that long for the mushrooms to be done. I have no patience with mushrooms! And, look! Everything turned out okay…

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Someday I’ll experiment with not crowding the mushrooms, and let you know if it makes a difference.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Lots of mushrooms (I probably used 2 cups, but wished for more)

1 cup cream

2 tablespoons butter (don’t use margarine – it’s not food)

Handful of basil

1/2 pound of pasta (whichever shape you like best)

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

Parmesan (optional)

Boil pasta according to the directions on the box. Melt the butter in a large skillet, and saute the mushrooms over medium-high heat for a couple minutes, then add garlic. Stir occasionally, so nothing burns. Once everything has browned a little bit, add the cream, plus salt and pepper. Lower heat and simmer for a few minutes, while stirring frequently. The sauce will thicken a little. Remove from heat, and add chopped basil. Taste it to make sure there is enough salt and pepper. Spoon over pasta. Top with extra basil, and parmesan.

Don’t serve with microwaved garlic bread.

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