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Office Picnic Pasta

May 31, 2011

To begin, I must first apologize for the lack of documentation of this meal. There was a sad attempt to capture it, Boh’s and all, crammed between stacks and stacks of papers on my sister’s office desk. However, cell phone cameras (or at least mine) only serve to dampen the color and make most food look like poop. Yes, poop.

So I set out last Thursday to make a meal out of my remaining farmer’s market foods and some of the roommate abandons from the freezer. I came up with a Portobello and Red Wine Cream Sauce over Spinach Tortellini. Originally, this was to be a somewhat respectable, accompanying-red-wine-with-your-dinner affair. Alas, as things go in the busy times of today, I received an anxious text from the sister as to her lack of ability to leave the office until at least 8PM. I, having  prior engagement to go and see Croix Sather, on his 90th of 100 days of running a marathon a day, decided not to cancel the dinner. Instead, I packed it up, taped it nice, threw some Boh’s in a cooler and biked my way through rush hour (still faster than the cars) to the office, where said meal was much enjoyed.

Here is the recipe:

Portobello and Spinach in Red Wine Cream Sauce over Spinach Tortellini:

2 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ yellow onion, diced

1 Portobello mushroom head (4-5 inches), cut in half and slice thin

2-3 cups spinach

¼ cup red wine

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk (I used skim)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt, pepper

a few Tbsp fresh basil or 1-2 tsp dry basil

pasta of your choice: I used the 9oz refrigerated Buittoni Tortellini, but you could use fettuccini or any other type of noodle.


Boil water in a pot for the pasta (whenever if boils, throw the pasta in and it should be done at the same time as the sauce) and heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften. Add mushroom and spinach and cook until wilted and beginning to release juices. Add wine and cook off for 2-3minutes. Transfer the mushroom/spinach mixture to another dish and return pan to stove, without cleaning. Add butter and flour and stir until mixed (its like a dumpling) then add milk and stir until it begins to thicken and the flour/butter is incorporated. Turn heat to low, add cheese and stir frequently. Return the mushroom and spinach mixture to the pan and add spices. If the pasta is not cooked yet, wait until it is done and then strain it. Toss pasta and sauce together and serve.

*serves 2

Yumm! And, I do believe, made even tastier by its successful trip down town to the office. I like that I used skim milk and Parmesan and still got a really flavorsome creamy sauce. I also liked the Portobello/wine flavors together. Excellent meal. And pretty simple and fast too. I believe it took a total of 20 minutes to prepare.

And because I cannot leave you without any visual stimulation, here are some photos from the Memorial Day Trip we took to Sharon, VA:

The beach, which took two days to appear from its hiding place under exceptionally deep waters.

Our tubing adventure!


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