Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Fresh Thyme

Following a prolonged pasta rut, in which I made some vegetarian pasta creation with seasonal veggies and cheese at least one night per week (if not two!), I took a break. I turned instead to a marinated grilled meat phase. This is the first pasta dish I’ve made in a while since my rut. I tried brown rice pasta here, which as the name suggests, is made from brown rice rather than flour. This fact alone makes it a bit better for you and for those limiting gluten, you’ll be pleased to know it’s also wheat-free. I am typically underwhelmed by alternative pasta varieties, finding them too chewy or dense. But this version was tasty and no one could tell it wasn’t the typical white flour variety.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 oz. mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs thyme plus 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 8 oz. brown rice pasta
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, tossing lightly to brown all sides. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. After about 4 minutes, the mushrooms should be golden. Add the thyme sprigs and the white wine to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. The mushrooms will continue to soften as the white wine boils away. Stir every so often to scrape up any browned bits. When the pan is almost dry, remove the thyme sprigs, take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the brown rice pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente (see tips). I started testing it at about 8 minutes. Be sure not to overcook it or it will become sticky and mushy. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander.
  • Return the pasta to the large pot. Add the mushrooms to the pot, then a splash of the cooking water. I like to use tongs for this part since they allow for better tossing and serving. Add the Parmesan cheese (see tips) and another splash of water to create a light sauce. Finally, add the spinach leaves and toss until they are wilted. I had to use another few splashes of hot starchy water to help this process along.
  • Divide the pasta onto plates, then top with the fresh thyme leaves, toasted walnut halves and additional cheese, if desired.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta. If you prefer to use a different type of pasta, be sure to adjust the cooking time according to package directions.
  • 2. My kids can be finicky about spinach. On the one hand, my older son asked for a side of sauteed spinach with his eggs the very morning I made this. However, something told me he wasn’t going to tolerate green in his pasta that evening. I removed portions for my kids after tossing mushrooms, pasta and cheese together. I served some wilted spinach on the side and a handful of the walnuts.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

2 responses to “Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Fresh Thyme”

  1. Jean says:

    Loved it! Flavorful and straightforward. I needed a new pasta recipe to throw into the weeknight mix and this is a very good one. I used fresh spinach linguine instead of the rice pasta and also added a bit more spinach than called for. Chopping the spinach coarsely also helped to incorporate it into the dish. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and thought it was great.

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