Monday, June 7, 2010

One Is the Tastiest Number!

Since I tend to cook for just myself and consequently eat alone most nights, I often get asked "don't you ever get lonely?". It's a valid question. I mean human beings as a species are generally social animals - we work together, shop together, learn together and live together, why not cook and eat together? And generally, we do. It's the accepted "norm", right - so solo diners are just, well... weird.

Well, then colour me purple and beat me with a flip-flop, because darn it, I like when I cook and eat alone. Not only do I have to worry about the intricate (and often impossible) lacework that must take place to mesh my dietary issues with my family's palates, but I'm free to experiment with all sorts of flavours and ingredients - way beyond what's considered "dinner" around here. Lentils and the same jarred pasta sauce bought from the same Italian deli 3 nights a week is not uncommon, though the lentils were originally a tough sell to the carnivores in the stepfamily. Nope, for me it can be curry chickpeas and rice, Asian stir-fry and noodles the next, broiled spicy tofu in a lavosh wrap or a good ol' lobster roll that graces my plate throughout the week, whatever suits my fancy provided I have the ingredients on hand.

I chalk it up to being not only a foodie and a bit of a creative spark, but an insatiable devourer of food blogs. At any given time, I'll easily have 5 or 6 IE windows up with various blog posts that have caught my eye. My "Favourites" folder sends my computer into a tailspin because it's so packed with saved sites, and I have a Word document open at all times to jot ideas into whenever it strikes me. I do like to use the stuff I have in the pantry whenever I can, really - there's not much room left - but at the same time I'm also looking for something fairly quick to toss together at the end of the day.

That's pretty much how this pasta came about - a pretty lavish affair for one person considering ingredients like morels and mushroom stock! While I certainly don't have fresh morels hanging around ever, I did have a whole package of dried ones from Ponderosa that I had picked up during March's CRFA show and a household of people who (if they touch them at all) consider even the taste of creminis "weird". Weird to them and no expectation to share? More for me! I also had picked up a box of delicious gluten-free spaghetti by Hodgson Mill there, so I figured I'd bust it out in this meal. The earthiness of both mushrooms and pasta worked beautifully with the tang of the tomatoes and wine - I felt very "gourmet"!

While you definitely don't have to make this just for yourself, or use only morels (though I do recommend wild mushrooms for this), its worth savouring alone at least once. That way nobody will have to see you lick the bowl! It's also a great idea for real food... real quick - like what Marye's blog event is highlighting! I'm also sending this to Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights event being hosted by Kirsten of From Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours.

Gourmet - for - One Morel Pasta
1 package (14g) dried morel mushrooms
1 cup hot mushroom stock (or water)
1/4 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup cooked Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti w/ flax seed (or regular whole wheat spaghetti)
2 tsp rice Parmesan (or regular if not vegan)
1-2 leaves fresh basil (optional, can use 1/2 tsp dried)
  1. In a small bowl, combine dried morels and hot stock or water. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon (gently squeeze out excess moisture) and set aside, reserving soaking liquid.
  3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, saute onion in some of the saved mushroom liquid, adding more as needed, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mushrooms and wine, raise heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomato paste and another 1-2 tbsp of the mushroom liquid to form a saucy consistency.
  6. Add cooked pasta and toss with the sauce, then add rice Parmesan and basil.
  7. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

Amount Per Bowl
Calories: 331.3
Total Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 336.3 mg
Total Carbs: 59.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.1 g
Protein: 12.9 g

5 comments :

canadianfoodiegirl said...

I considered buying morels from the Forbes table at the farmer's market on the weekend and might pick some up this week.

There's nothing wrong with cooking/eating alone. I quite enjoy it and find it more relaxing than cooking for others because I'm the only one that I need to impress.

Finally, I have to ask: What are you doing still using Internet Explorer? The fact that it wasn't the first thing in my comments shows restraint. :) (I think I'm a computer geek before I'm a food geek.)

Ruth Daniels said...

I'm with you - cooking for one can be a joyful experience. It's not often that my Honey has to go out of town for business, but when he does...it's no holds barred.

Thanks for sharing this dish with Presto Pasta Nights...it's even one he'd like ;-D

Collegian said...

I've been looking for a manageable recipe to test out morels with and this looks fabulous! can't wait to try it.

Joanne said...

I eat alone a lot of the time as well. It can be lonely at times but it's nice to cater to my own wants and needs and not to my family's stringent palates. This dish looks delicious! I love morels.

The Food Hunter said...

Great recipe. I do the same thing when I'm alone...I eat and read food blogs