Roasted Cremini Mushroom Linguini


Looking to satisfy a craving for an earthy, rustic dinner, I decided that the cremini mushrooms staring back at me from the bottom shelf on my refrigerator were what I’d start with. At the market this afternoon, I picked up a package of boneless chicken thighs to use for our pasta dish, but I felt the mushrooms are meaty enough, so put the thighs in the freezer to use next week. I also had a package of spinach I needed to use, as well as mini heirloom tomatoes that were reaching their peak.

I started by roasting my cremini mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of refrigerated, roasted garlic. You can certainly use fresh garlic, which is what I normally use, but spotted this in the refrigerator and decided I’d use that.

I roasted my mushrooms in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Mushrooms really shrink down, so this is all I had left of a 20 ounce package.

I boiled a package of linguini along with a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves.

While the noodles were boiling, I made my sauce. I’m not a fan of heavy sauces, which is why I chose to make an olive oil and heirloom tomato based sauce. I started with a half cup of olive oil, about five shakes of red pepper flakes, and the rest of the garlic and juice from the roasted garlic jar. There was only a tablespoon left after I used what I did on the mushrooms (the jar was only a third full when I started my dinner tonight).

I then added about 8 ounces of mini heirloom tomatoes to the olive oil and garlic and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes were starting to soften.


Once the noodles and spinach were cooked, I added them directly into the sauce – without draining them. I like to add the noodles using a pasta server or a spider, leaving the water in the pot – in case I need to loosen the sauce a bit. I did not need any extra water tonight, but I always do it like this … just in case.


Once I adde the pasta to the sauté pan, I added the mushrooms I had roasted – making sure to scrape any of the extra olive oil and garlic off the pan into the sauce. I didn’t want to lose any of that extra flavor!


I tossed everything together before placing it in serving bowls and topping with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


I really enjoyed the meatiness of the cremini mushrooms in this dish. I told Dennis I think this may be my new favorite pasta dinner – I’m so happy I had leftovers. My Dad always said “if it tastes good the first time, it tastes even better the second time around”.


1 pound dried linguini noodles, cooked

24 ounce package of cremini mushrooms, stems removed and tossed, caps cut in half.

1/2 cup olive oil plus a drizzle for mushrooms

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided

3 tablespoons roasted garlic, divided, plus liquid from the jar

3 handfuls fresh spinach

8 ounces mini heirloom tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place cut mushrooms on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add 2 tablespoons roasted, minced garlic. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Boil water for noodles. Cook noodles and spinach together.
  4. In large sauté pan, add olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon roasted, minced garlic and liquid left from jar of garlic.
  5. Add tomatoes to pan and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes start to soften.
  6. Add cooked noodles and spinach to sauté pan, reserving some of the pasta water in case you need to loosen your sauce.
  7. Add roasted mushrooms, making sure to scrape the garlic from the pan to the noodles and toss together.
  8. Serve with grated parmesan.


Until next time, Kris


Beer and Garlic Grilled Bratwurst with Rigatoni

beerrigatoni 2

Summer evenings call for a simple dinner, one that has “summer” written all over it. This week, I wanted to make brats for dinner, but also wanted pasta. So I decided I’d cook my brats in beer, as I always do before grilling them, and also add in a few cloves of garlic into the pot. Somehow the idea of a brat, simmered in beer sounded so good with marinara sauce. I pulled out a package of rigatoni and cooked that, minced a package of fresh thyme, and shredded a cheese that I really love. It’s Black Pepper Toscana Cheese that I buy at Trader Joe’s. I love this cheese! I also buy Syrah soaked Toscana at Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t tried either of these cheeses, run … don’t walk to your nearest Trader Joe’s and buy some. It’s really good.

I decided I’d google to find out a bit about Toscana cheese. I knew I loved it, but didn’t know much about it. What I found out from Wikipedia is that Toscana cheese is a firm textured ewe’s milk cheese that is produced in Tuscany. Toscana that is “well matured is widely used across Italy as a substitute for parmesan.”

My niece, Madeline was here for dinner and her and I wanted pasta, Kylie and Dennis wanted their brats in a bun. Once Dennis saw the pasta put together with the brats, he ended up choosing to have the Beer Brat Rigatoni Pasta with Maddie and I.

I placed my sausages in a large saucepan and covered them with beer and added three cloves of garlic that I had peeled and cut into pieces. The brats were brought to a boil and then simmered for 10-15 minutes, until they were no longer pink.

Meanwhile, I started the water for my pasta. I then minced 3/4 of a package of fresh thyme and set it aside and shredded the black pepper Toscana cheese.

Once the brats were done simmering, I removed them from the beer and grilled them on my indoor grill pan. After they had the grill marks I was looking for (cooking them a few minutes per side), I set them aside.

Putting the pasta together was easy. I heated a jar of marinara sauce, along with a can of crushed tomatoes. I spooned the marinara sauce over the rigatoni, placed one cut up brat (I cut them on the diagonal because I think it looks prettier) on each plate, sprinkled fresh thyme and shredded cheese over the top and dinner was served.


  • 1 package bratwurst
  • 2 bottles of beer (I used Stella Artois)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • black pepper Toscana cheese (as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 package dried rigatoni


  1. Place brats in a large saucepan, add beer and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the sausages are no longer pink.
  2. Mince thyme and shred cheese.
  3. Grill brats (either outside or on an indoor grill pan).
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Heat marinara and crushed tomatoes.
  6. Cut brats on the diagonal
  7. Spoon sauce over cooked pasta, add bratwurst, thyme and cheese.


Until next time, Kris