Friday, April 1, 2011

Penne and Cremini Mushrooms in an Herbed Cream Sauce

This recipe soudns so much fancier than what it takes to actually make it. The inspiration for the recipe came from a little Italian cookbook Adam & I found when we were out perusing our favorite secondhand book store. In our wanderings through the store, we both browsed through this same book, so it just had to come home with us.

Adam couldn't wait for me to try a "chicken and pasta" recipe, but for Lent, I was looking for a few more meatless options that still had plenty of flavor. While the original recipe looked good, I made some tweaks to keep it a little healthier and a whole lot less exspensive. I don't know how many times I've spied a recipe and it called for too many ingredients that I normally don't keep on hand. My rule of thumb for a new recipe - I won't spend more than $5 on specialty ingredients for it, and with my quick adaptations, I spent only $2.xx to round out what I laready had on hand to work with.

I made the recipe for 2 - and there was not a scrap left in the pan - so I've doubled the recipe here to feed 4. It pairs perfectly with a spring blend salad and lovely, crusty garlic bread. Hope you enjoy this treat as much as we did!

1 lb. penne rigate ($.50)
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced very thin ($2.00)
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
2 T. olive oil ($.10)
6 cloves garlic ($.15)
1 T. basil ($.10)
1 C. dry white wine ($.75)
1 C. half and half ($.50)
2 T. cream cheese ($.10)
1 T. lemon juice ($.05)
1 T. parsley ($.05)
3/4 C. parmesan cheese ($.65)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add olive oil to a large, nonstick skillet, heat over medium-low. Once the oil is hot, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook 6-8 minutes, until almost fork tender. Add garlic and basil, cook an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in white wine and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in half and half and cream cheese. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until cream cheese has melted into the sauce and the sauce has slightly thickened. Add in 1/3 C. parmesan, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir well, add in penne and additional parmesan to taste.

Serve immediately.
Yields = 4 servings (as an entree, 6-8 servings as a side dish)
Cost: $5.00
Cost per serving: $1.25

**This dish would work well as a side dish to roasted pork and chicken dishes.**

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