bucatini tossed with garlic scape pesto and forest mushrooms sauteed in a white wine reduction

i love dried mushrooms. they are so easy to cook with, and really great for when you want to give your dish a certain flavor. just rehydrate the mushrooms in some cream or some white wine, or even a mixture of both. for this recipe, i toned down the fat, and rehydrated a mix of forest mushrooms (wood ear, porcini, morel, chanterelles, and shitake) in some milk and a dry white wine. this might be one of my favorite dishes i have ever created, so i'll share the recipe with you. as always, the ingredients are tentative since i cook something new every time (i don't like sticking to recipes) so heres the first run recipe:

1/2 pound bucatini pasta (this stuff is great for absorbing flavor, it's thick and textured)

1 cup chopped fresh spinnach

1 cup dried mushrooms of your choice, a forest mix is great, but morels could be good too

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 milk or cream

1 cup morningstar imitation chicken strips ( i put these in for protein, you can take 'em or leave 'em, or even use real chicken)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup garlic scape pesto (my new favorite kind of pesto- just replace basil with garlic scapes and i used walnuts instead of pine nuts)

3-4 leaves of fresh basil

3 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons thyme

1 clove minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon bourbon barrel smoked sea salt

ok, first things first: rehydrate your mushrooms. warm up a mixture of your milk/cream with the white wine- let the mushrooms soak in the mixture for 30 minutes or until soft- white they soak, work on the rest of the recipe

in a skillet, heat the olive oil and then put in your minced garlic to give the oil flavor- throw in the morningstar imitation chicken and let that cook for about 5 minutes, then toss in the spinach and cook that for 1-2 more. after the spinach starts to get a bit soft, throw in all of your dry herbs/spices and your basil leaves.

white you are doing this, also boil the water for your pasta and cook that until al dente

then, once the mushrooms have soaked up the flavor of the milk and wine mixture, drain them from the liquid, but save the liquid in the bowl: this will be really important for the flavor later on

chop up the mushrooms and throw them into the pan with the spinach and morningstar chicken, sauté the mix for about 3-4 minutes- then add in 3/4 cup of the liquid into the pan as well and simmer on low heat

in the mean time, when your pasta is cooked al dente, drain from the water and put back into the pot. toss the bucatini with the garlic scape pesto until well coated

anddddd that's pretty much it.....serve the mushrooms and spinach (and whatever else) on top of a bed of the pasta... i liked this dish with a glass of pinot grigio, and i would think it would also go well with a riesling. enjoy!

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