Spinach and Mushroom Alfredo

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Before I could post the chicken broccoli alfredo recipe, I needed to try it again with the right portions of cheese. I didn't feel like cooking meat, so instead I tried spinach and mushrooms, despite my previous experience with spinach, in bacon and spinach pasta with parmesan being less than satisfactory.

The end result was I finally made a spinach dish that I liked. And I made a mushroom alfredo that wasn't just "mushroom gravy with cheese". And they both happened at the same time!

The key bit to ensuring that the mushroom flavor does not become overpowering is to drain the mushrooms after cooking. The liquid could be used to make a nice mushroom gravy, but we already have an alfredo sauce.

I think what worked for the spinach was sauteing in olive oil until a rich, dark green color. I had already added the garlic to the mushrooms, or I would have used that as well.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 c. parmesan cheese
    • or 1/2 c. parmesan and 1/2 c. romano

Mixins

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 16 oz. fresh spinach
  • 16 oz. fettucini pasta

Instructions

Start boiling water for pasta.

Cut the stems off the spinach. Rinse, dry, and shred into strips. Clean mushrooms and slice.

In a medium saucepan, start the sauce by melting the butter over low heat. When melted, add the flour and whisk together. Cook for a few minutes, until the mixture turns slightly lighter and smells nutty. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Turn up heat to medium and stir frequently until thickened without letting it boil.

While the sauce is thickening, add olive oil and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Toss in mushrooms and cook until browned and tender. Remove from pan. Add some more olive oil and cook spinach until dark green and tender.

When sauce is thickened, add cheese and mix with spoon until melted.

Combine pasta and sauce and toss to coat. Add mushrooms and spinach. Serve. Add red pepper flakes if desired.

Images

Make sure to do all this prep before turning on any of the head (except maybe boiling water, since that takes forever).

First cut off the stems. We only want the leaves. The little bit of stem left on the leaf will cook down fine.

Next rinse. If I'm going to keep using these green, leafy vegetables, I really ought to invest in a salad spinner. It would make it a lot easier to rinse the leaves and get rid of all the extra moisture before cooking.

To shred the spinach, take a bunch of leaves, roll them up, and slice into 1/2 inch strips.

To clean mushrooms, gently rub off the dirt and stuff under water. Rinse mushrooms immediately before using.

Lay the mushroom on its side and slice into strips.

I want to try cubing the mushrooms instead of slicing next time. I think it'd be an interesting change.

Last on the cutting board, mince the garlic. Place the side of the knife over the clove and smash flat. Then mince into small bits.

Final prep is to get the sauce ingredients ready.

Now we can finally start the sauce by melting the butter.

Once melted, add the flour and cook until slightly lighter.

Then we can add the milk and mix until smooth.

Add the spices and heat until thickened.

While we wait for the sauce to thicken, we can start the mushrooms. Add some olive oil to a pan.

Saute the garlic a little to release its flavor.

Then add the mushrooms.

I did slightly undercook the mushrooms here. They should be a lot darker. This will happen only after all the liquid from the mushrooms is cooked off. Remember that browning is flavor!

After the mushrooms we can saute the spinach. Add a bit more oil to the pan.

Cook the spinach until a deep dark green.

When the sauce is thickened, add the cheese and stir until melted.

Now that everything is done, we can combine it together.

Start with the sauce and toss to coat.

Add the spinach and mushrooms.

And we're done! Add some red pepper for some spice, and more cheese if desired Serve with some garlic bread for maximum awesome.

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