A Go-To Comfort Foods Meal

I know I’ve had a high concentration of crazy-new-mom posts, so here’s a recipe to vary stuff up a bit.  This meal is one of my go-to comfort foods because it’s quick, easy, and the ingredients are fairly interchangeable.

img_2404The general idea is pasta with a white sauce that is a combination of leek, sausage, mushroom and cheese.  In this picture you see a giant leek that looked too good to pass up at the farmer’s market.  If there are no good looking leeks, I also use green onions.  One could also go for spring onions.  As for sausage, I use all kinds.  Chorizo, or italian sausage, or even pre-cooked polish sausage.  Here I use dehydrated mushrooms because I bought a vat of them in a strange pregnancy nesting ritual (that’s why I use them in everything now).  Obviously, any fresh mushrooms would work nicely, too.  (Except portabella — they leak a bad color that mucks up the dish, in my opinion)

I usually cook up the leeks, and the sausage in a large skillet.  Then, on top of that mixture, I make a rue and use milk (or add cream if I have it).  Add the mushrooms.  If sauce needs more liquid, I add the mushroom water from the rehydration process — or the pasta water.  I usually add some sort of cheese towards the end — whatever I have on hand.  Parmesan? Fontina? A little white cheddar?

I cook some sort of short pasta al dente and then add the noodles into the sauce for the last minute or two of cooking.  (Add more pasta water to loosen up the mixture if it looks tight)

Then I love putting something green on top at the end.  Either parsley or green onions.  The dish is very forgiving, and that’s what I love about it.

In this case, the ingredients are all local save for the mushrooms and pasta.




  1. Gretchen said,

    January 18, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Sounds yummy. I always stay away from white sauces – I think of them as unhealthy – but must admit have not really made them very often. Do you have a basic recipe you use for the sauce? Butter, flour for the rue and then just milk or cream until a certain consistency? I could go for one with broccoli and red pepper flakes or something like that this evening…

  2. almostima said,

    January 18, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I find that white sauce tends to be unhealthy when you have it in a restaurant because it’s really all cream and butter. When I make it, I usually make the rue with 1-2 tablespoons of butter, and 1-2 tablespoons of flour. The liquid added for the most part is fat free milk (or chicken stalk, or mushroom water) with just a splash of cream at the end (but even that is not necessary). If you use ingredients in the sauce that have a lot of their own flavor, you don’t need to depend on cream for the entire flavor.

    Broccoli and red peper flakes in white sauce sounds good!

  3. Mommy, Esq. said,

    January 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I have been into pasta carbonara lately – very easy to make – bacon, parm cheese, onion, eggs and pasta. Key is to saute the onions in the bacon fat. I’ll have to try your recipe – we always have green onion on hand that go bad before we can use them.

  4. jerseygirl77 said,

    January 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Instead of cream, you can often substitute fat-free evaporated milk. You get the thicker/heavier consistency of cream, but without the fat and calories.

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