When it comes to cooking these days, I’m all about a recipe that involves the least amount of dishes as possible.
Give me all the flavors and textures with just one pan, and I’m a happy camper.
With the weather turning cool here in Minnesota, I’ve been craving the comfort that crisp autumn evenings are just begging for. Of course, I’ve already baked my fair share of pumpkin things, started making my way through all the squash variants (have you had a buttercup squash?), and am munching my way through fall salads and rich soups. One of my favorite ingredients year-round, but especially in the fall, is mushrooms.
I wasn’t always on the mushroom bandwagon. Perhaps it was the years of bland portobello caps that were offered to me as the sole vegetarian option when I was out to eat. But in recent years, mushrooms have had a resurgence. From powders in our coffee, to the varieties at the market, mushroom jerky, and so much more, the shrooms are definitely here to stay. And now that I’ve learned how to properly cook them and appreciate their meaty flavor, I for one, am so here for it.
While the mushrooms add a great umami flavor to this pasta, it’s the jammy leeks that take it to the next level. They lend this pasta an indulgence that somehow avoids feeling heavy. The key is to cook the leeks low and slow on the stove. You want to slice them thinly so they melt together and become “jammy,” clinging to the pasta you use. They’re slightly sweet, mostly savory, and pair really well with the mushrooms in this pasta to make a flavorful one-pan supper.
And of course, greens are a must. I think a hearty dino kale is the perfect autumn green, but I’ve used curly leaf kale which also holds up really well as you’re bringing your pasta together. Spinach or arugula would also fit, but I would recommend leaving them out until the very end so they hold their structure.
Finish everything off with a hearty sprinkle of grated parm and a fresh squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got one perfect bite.
My tip for cooking? It’s all about the mise en place to make this easy for a weeknight. Lay out your the prepped ingredients to the side as you cook so you can add as you go along and keep this a mostly hands off process.
You could easily dress this pasta up or down depending on what you have on hand, but I think leaning on a simple list of really great ingredients is truly what makes this feel like a special dinner, even on a weeknight. I like being able to taste each element of the pasta, the sweet and almost buttery leeks, the earthy mushrooms and salty part, getting some extra texture from the kale, and the hit of lemon that cuts through everything with a bit of tang. Absolutely scrumptious!
Pair with your favorite autumnal salad and cozy up for a wonderful fall season!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large leek, very thinly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 8oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups of kale, chopped
- 3 large leaves of sage, thinly sliced
- pappardelle (or other pasta of choice)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- grated parmesan to top
- salt and pepper to taste
- an optional drizzle of olive oil to finish
- In a large stove top pan, add the olive oil and butter and bring up to a medium heat. Add the leeks and salt, stir. Cover and cook for about 30 - 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the leeks have broken down and become caramelized. I like to smash the leeks as they cook with the back of a wooden spoon to help them break down. *If the leeks look dry as they cook, add a tbsp of water or so as needed.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil after the leeks have cooked. The water will come up to a boil as we cook the rest of the ingredients so the pasta is ready to add to the vegetables when done.
- Add the red pepper flakes, dried thyme, garlic, mushrooms, and soy sauce to the pan with the leeks. Stir to combine and cook until the mushrooms take on a bit of color. About 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add your pasta to your boiling water and cook per package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, add the kale and sage to the pan with the leeks and mushrooms. Turn pan to low heat and stir to combine, cover until the pasta is ready.
- When the pasta is done, add it to the pan with the vegetables and stir to coat. For more of a sauce, add a ladle or so of the pasta water to the pan and stir. Add the lemon juice and parmesan and stir to coat the pasta. Salt and pepper to taste and add an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!