Sausage Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

20140302_192956[1]This is an easy dish that you can prepare in as much time as it takes to cook the pasta. It calls for a jar of store-bought alfredo sauce, something I’m embarrassed to say that I used — but wow, does it make things simple. That means it’s a great dish to make on a weeknight. You could also use a homemade alfredo sauce on a night when you have more time. One tip: Chop the vegetables and grate the cheese as you wait for the pasta water to boil.

Serves 6

1 large leek, white and pale green part only, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 links mild Italian pork sausage (8 oz.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
8 oz. rigatoni pasta
8 oz. sliced baby Portobello mushrooms (use white if they aren’t available)
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 15-oz. jar roasted garlic alfredo sauce
2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

Start boiling the water for the pasta and cook as directed on the box. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and grate the cheese, then set aside. Remove the sausage casings by cutting the links in half lengthwise (butterfly them), then turning the sausage over and peeling the casings away.

In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring to crumble the meat, until browned and no longer pink. Remove to a bowl and add remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pan, then add mushrooms and leeks. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the wine or broth; simmer 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half.

Stir in alfredo sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in pasta and sausage and stir 1 minute. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

The recipe is adapted from one I found at Publix.

Broiled Portobellos

Here is a quick and easy way to prepare those beautiful and meaty portobello mushrooms. The only part that takes a while is the marinating, but you can get other things done in the kitchen while you do it, including preheating the oven. You won’t believe how good this tastes.

This can also be done on an outdoor grill.

Once cooked, the portobellos can be sliced into long strips for a vegetable side dish, a topping for salads and risotto, or a gourmet addition to a toasted sandwich. You can also put the mushroom caps between two hamburger buns to create a new favorite of mine — portobello burgers.

You can play with the proportions for the marinade, but I favor one part red wine vinegar to two parts olive oil.

4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. white pepper

Gently rinse the mushrooms and pat dry with a paper towel. Mix the other ingredients together well in a measuring cup, then pour into a large bowl. Add the mushrooms and leave to marinate for about half an hour, turning every so often to make sure all sides can sit in the liquid.

Preheat the broiler (I set it to 225C/460F degrees). When the broiler is ready, place the caps rounded side up on a baking tray.

Broil for 2-3 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.