Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach #recipe

LESLIE:  “Let’s make Guinness Stew,” Mr. Right said a few days before St. Patrick’s Day. “Good idea,” I replied and added beer, mushrooms, and stew meat to the grocery list. “And quiche the next day,” adding spinach.

But you remember what was going on two weeks ago -- a lot of shopping in a short time, as we all scrambled to fill our pantries and plan ahead. No stew meat or substitute at Costco, though I did score a large box of mushrooms and a bag of spinach about the size of my first apartment. No luck at my usual grocery stores, either.

But what to do with all that spinach and all those mushrooms? Quiche would have been a good answer, but I decided to hang on to our eggs, rather than spend 8 of the 11 on one dish.

Pasta to the rescue. We used spaghetti, but any long or short pasta would work well. I’d bought button mushrooms for the stew—don’t worry; I’ll share that recipe another time—but any variety would do, and a combo of button, cremini, and baby portobello s would be especially nice. Use what you have on hand or find in your markets.

Variations: Add a dash of ground red pepper, or a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of zest.

Serve with fresh bread and a crisp Italian white wine—or whatever options your pantry is serving up!

During this difficult time, I'm celebrating independent booksellers. Order a book from an indie -- online or locally -- then pop over to my Facebook Author page and tell me about it. When the chaos ends and bookstores reopen, I'll choose a winner of a book of mine or a bookstore gift card.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach

8 ounces pasta
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more for optional topping
1/4 cup milk, any type
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 cups fresh spinach

Cook pasta until al dente. During the last 5 minutes, start the mushroom mixture. When the pasta is done, drain, saving about half a cup of pasta water.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add drained pasta to skillet. Stir in Parmesan, milk, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Remove from heat. Add spinach and stir until mixed; cover and let mixture sit a minute or two to wilt the spinach. You may want to add a little pasta water, by the tablespoon, if the pasta looks dry.

Serve immediately with a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan for topping.

Serves 4-6.

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Sounds delicious and easy! Spinach and mushrooms make a great combo and Parmesan cheese makes almost anything better!

    1. And if my grocery store is any indication, you should have no trouble finding them. Pasta, OTH -- well, you've got some in your pantry, right?!

  2. I love spinach & mushrooms. Sounds like a great recipe, will definitely have to try. Congratulations on your new book! cmeier2001@live,com

  3. You know, I had to smile that you made this recipe to conserve eggs. I made something very like this but added gently cooked egg with somewhat runny yolk on top of the pasta portions.

    1. Funny! Egg on top is super-trendy -- so you're spot-on!