Mushroom-Spinach Fusilli with Salty Sunflower Seeds

Caramelized Mushroom Spirals

You don’t always need to follow a recipe to make something turn out deliciously.

In my refrigerator, I had mushrooms and spinach that needed to be used, and I just purchased a new balsamic vinegar that I was eager to try. A number of potential dishes crossed through my mind—spinach mushroom risotto balls? a healthy spinach salad with caramelized onions and mushrooms? Balsamic chicken tacos? I decided to just start saute-ing and see what happened.

I began by melting a combo of butter and olive oil, then adding roughly chopped red onion to brown and caramelize. Atop the onions, I sprinkled a little sea salt and black pepper. While the onions cooked, I washed and sliced bella mushrooms. The best way to cook mushrooms is to generally leave them alone and let them shrink down, only stirring occasionally. I then added rich balsamic, let it cook for a few minutes on a higher heat, then added dry white wine for added depth. A tablespoon or so of cornstarch helped thicken the sauce. I added a tad more butter and grated some pecorino. All the while, I boiled water and tossed in whole wheat spirals. I popped some sunflower seeds in the oven to toast and grated a bit more cheese to add for garnish.

Pasta water is a great addition to almost every sauce. The leftover starch helps thicken a sauce. I mixed my noodles, with a little water, into the sauce pan and tasted — then added a bit more S&P. Voila!

I enjoyed with a glass of Pinot Noir.


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