Lest you think that all Jason and I eat at home are sandwiches and sweets, the recipe featured in this post highlights a typical weeknight dinner for us.

Our inspiration for dinners usually come from how tired we are when we get home from work and the gym and on the night we made this, we were particularly lazy. We went with an all-in-one pasta dish/meal. This particular one starred the beautiful Maitake and shiitake mushrooms, shallots, and spinach we picked up from the farmer’s market. The pork was an after thought to “beef” the dish up but it would have been fine kept as vegetarian for a lighter meal.

The starch in the reserved pasta water brings all of the flavors in the dish together and makes the dish seem almost creamy. I personally prefer pastas that don’t have a traditional sauce and reserved pasta water is a MUST to making them taste wonderful. I wouldn’t dream of making a dish like this without it.

Here’s a lovely pic of the mushrooms being cut up. Yum!

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Weeknight One-Pot Pasta

serves two hungry eaters

5 oz dried short pasta (i.e.; penne), prepared according to package but drained slightly BEFORE al dente
1 cup pasta water (reserved from above)
3-4 pork chops, 1/2-inch thick, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil
red pepper flakes, optional
4-5 large shallots, thiny sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb mix of Maitake and shiitake mushrooms, rough chopped (any mushrooms would work here)
3-4 large handfuls of fresh spinach, rough chopped
1/2 cup white wine (stock or water will be fine for this too)
salt and black pepper
freshly grated Grana Padano cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano is fine

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet that has a cover. When the oil shimmers, add the pork chop and sear for 3-4 minutes a side. Remove from the pan, chop into bite-size pieces, and reserve.

Heat the the remaining olive oil over medium heat in the same pan and throw in the garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Fry for about 7-10 minutes or until the shallots are soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Lightly salt and pepper the aromatics. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and then add the mushrooms. After 3-4 minutes, pull out a mushroom to taste it and readjust the seasonings as needed.

Add the pork back in along with the pasta, pasta water, and spinach. Stir to combine and cover the pan. Let steam for 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

Serve with the freshly grated cheese.

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This meal will realistically take about 35-40 minutes from start to finish. It may take less if you have help from a great partner 😉 Thanks for being my kitchen buddy for life!

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