Cook: MM Creamy Buckwheat Pasta with Wild Mushrooms

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Buckwheat pasta smothered in a decadent mascarpone sauce with hearty mushrooms throughout! Now that’s what I call a Meatless Monday meal that will not have you crying on your dinner plate for the absence of the meat! Bon appetit!

Creamy Buckwheat Pasta with Wild Mushrooms

1/2 pound wild mushrooms, such as oysters and chanterelles, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 large eggs
1 pound buckwheat pappardelle (see Note)
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a nonstick baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook the eggs for 5 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool under cold running water. In another pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain well.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leek and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the mascarpone and cream, then stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Add the roasted mushrooms, cooked pasta and spinach to the skillet and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and mound the pasta into shallow bowls. Peel and halve the eggs, adding one to each bowl. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.

NOTES: Buckwheat pasta (called pizzoccheri in Italian) is available at specialty and health-food shops

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Cook: MM Chia-Pomegranate Pudding

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Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is a bit different as I promised a dear friend, Zelinda, that I would share this yummy Chia-Pomegranate Pudding recipe that’s fabulous to start your day or as a treat throughout! My daughter is allergic to almonds so almond milk was not an option for us so I used Vanilla Coconut milk and it was delightful! If you are in a rush and don’t want to make your own almond milk, I am sure the store bought variety would work nearly as well.

Chia-Pomegranate Pudding

Yield: 2 servings

Cook Time: 5 minutes (plus 1 hour for the almond milk to steep and overnight refrigeration for the pudding to set)

INGREDIENTS

2/3  cup slivered almonds

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups skim milk

Pinch sea salt

2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the almonds and toast, shaking the pan often, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add both kinds of milk and the salt and bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside for 1 hour.

2. Transfer the almond-milk mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into a large jar or bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons maple syrup and chia seeds and cover. Place in the refrigerator overnight, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove the pudding from the refrigerator. Top with the pomegranate seeds, drizzle with additional maple syrup and serve. Calories per Serving: 483; Sodium: 281mg; Total Carbohydrate: 50g; Fiber: 10g; Fat: 25g

Cook: MM Macaroni Gratin

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Nothing is more comforting on a cold winter’s night than a plate of steaming Macaroni and Cheese (or in this case Macaroni Gratin)! Pair with a crunchy salad and you’ve got yourself the makings of a perfect feel good meal! Bon appetit!

Macaroni Gratin

3 quarts whole milk

4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 pound ridged penne pasta

2 trays of ice cubes

1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese (3 1/2 ounces)

2 tablespoons minced chives

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the milk and garlic. Warm the milk over high heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Measure out 1 cup of milk and reserve; set aside the rest.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, without browning, for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the reserved 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is completely smooth. Season with a large pinch of salt and generous gratings of white pepper and nutmeg. Return the pan to low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it’s thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500°. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the remaining milk and bring back to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, over moderately high heat so the milk is just simmering, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the ice cubes to stop the cooking. Once all of the ice cubes have melted, drain the pasta in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the white sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-by13-inch gratin dish. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges. Turn on the broiler and broil, rotating the dish, until the cheese is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the gratin stand for 5 minutes, then season generously with white pepper, garnish with the chives and serve.