Apolinaras went to Costco while I was on my baking adventure and brought home a fun present – a huge canister of dried gourmet mushrooms! The blend contained a mix of porcini, morels, Brazilian, Ivory portabellas, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, and I immediately knew what I wanted to make this weekend when I saw my gift – mushroom walnut pesto!
I blended some rehydrated wild and fresh mushrooms along with toasted walnuts, parmesan cheese, onions, garlic, and a bit of lemon juice to make the pesto. I used the mushroom stock to thin it out a bit, but also added a bit of olive oil for some richness. Then I tossed the pesto with rotelle pasta, even more mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach. It’s the perfect hardy fall dish for mushroom lovers!
Mushroom Walnut Pesto Pasta
3 ounces dried wild mushrooms (4 cups)
4 cups boiling water
1 pound whole wheat rotelle pasta
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup whole walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Place dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and pour boiling water on top. Let mushrooms soak for 20 minutes or until rehydrated. Reserve 1/2 cup mushroom stock.
To prepare the pasta, cook rotelle according to package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander, return it to the pot, and keep warm.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and sauté the onions, 1/2 the rehydrated wild mushrooms and all the baby bella mushrooms for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened; add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Place mushroom mixture in a food processor along with the toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, lemon juice, reserved 1/2 cup mushroom stock, 4 tablespoons olive oil, and salt. Pulse until pesto is well mixed.
Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet and sauté remaining 1/2 of the rehydrated wild mushrooms for 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms are softened; add spinach and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
Stir together pasta, mushroom walnut pesto, cooked mushrooms and spinach, and tomatoes in a large bowl until well mixed. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 592 calories, 22.3g fat, 15.7g fiber, 21.4g protein per serving
Cost: $2.92 per serving