I am not a huge fan of the microwave. I really never owned one myself until I got married, and then only because my in-laws gave us one. Truth be told, I seldom use it...but did begin to use it to warm things up after the boy-o was born and eating baby food. Back when he ate anything, I used to freeze Luc-sized portions of whatever and then just pop it in to heat up. I hate to admit that it was easier than firing up a whole burner just to heat a couple of Tablespoons.
The other day, I perused the Cooking Light mag that was on the counter at my in-laws house. Normally, I see a few things that look good, but the magazine design as a whole I really detest. It does appear that the Cooking Light people reformatted to have a more CakeWalk pleasing aesthetic, but for some reason, I just can not love this publication. I'm not what you would call a magazine junkie. I subscribe to Saveur, Metropolitan Home and until recently when I let the subscription lapse, Bon Appetit. (I LOVED the Bon Appetit redesign last January, by the way...)
I had some crimini's looking at me tonight, and pantry staples for the rest, so I decided to make the Penne with Sage and Mushrooms from the September issue of Cooking Light I borrowed from down the street.
Of course, I can not make anything without changing, so I'll let you look at the original and then I'll tell you here what I did, and what I would do differently next time. But first, did you know that you could "roast" garlic in the microwave? I googled it after a quick call to R1 to see if she had ever done it. This article came up from Melissa Clark. I decided that it was just too hot to heat up the oven to 400 degrees for 45 minutes just for some milder garlic, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
This is the best garlic (Chrysalis) from Pinehold Gardens, so I wasn't too sure I wanted to gamble on a frivolous microwaving endeavor...
I "over-microwaved" the garlic a bit I think, since I let it go for 7 minutes without checking it...but really in a pinch it does work! I'd rather have some slow roasted any day, but for this particular recipe, it was definitely passable.
It did look rather "roasted" upon its exit from the contraption...
And here is the recipe for My Version of the Cooking Light Penne with Sage and Mushrooms: Remember to consult the original link first, you may prefer it...
1 roasted head of garlic, whichever way you choose to do it. When it's done roasting, add 1/2 c. water (2 T. less if you use the microwave method) and mash the roasted cloves with the water into a paste.
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, (rehydrated in 2 c. boiling water for 20 minutes - strain the liquid through a coffee filter, and reserve 1 cup liquid) coarsely chopped
8 oz. penne - I used leftover boxes, so it was 4 oz. of Barilla Penne Plus, and 4 oz. of the mini Barilla penne...
20 or so fresh sage leaves
6 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
2 oz. pecorino-romano cheese, grated on the microplane
Cook your noodles. When they are about half done, start with the sauce: first heat a drizzle of olive oil over med-high heat and sizzle off the sage for about a minute. Then remove to a plate and reserve.
Then, saute crimini's in about 2 T. of olive oil for 4 minutes or so until they begin to caramelize a bit. I ALWAYS think of Michael Chiarello here (when I used to watch him) saying "now guys, go grab a beer, and do not touch them" or they don't caramelize. I swear, Michael Chiarello is responsible for me having mushrooms I love to eat... I also saute with pepper, since I love the flavor pepper takes on when it heats- but never salt, since it draws out the moisture too soon.
Then add the garlic paste, chopped rehydrated porcini's, and 1 cup of the reserved porcini soaking liquid (and s&p to taste). Boil and reduce to about 1/2, about 5 minutes. Now, here, I decided that I wanted to make it thicker, so I used about a T. of cornstarch in about a T. of cold water and mixed it in at the end of the boiling, reducing time. You wouldn't have too, but I did since it was reminding me so much of a good mushroom soup. Either way, add in the grated pecorino and let stand covered off the heat about 5 minutes before combining with the pasta and tossing in the reserved sage.
I loved the flavor of this, and my non-veg Husband ate his portion, but I know the leftovers will be mine... I think next time, I would thicken the sauce even more. I'm still not sure if this recipe will make my criteria cut for saving, but it was a good dinner all in all.