April 30, 2011

Mushroom and White Bean Stew with Campanelle

Today's featured recipe was inspired by a recipe presented at Kalyn's Kitchen.   That recipe - Mushroom, White Bean and Tomato Stew with Parmesan - looked pretty good, but there were a few things I knew I'd want to do differently.  One of the primary changes I made was to saute the mushrooms along with the onions, rather than adding them in later.   I knew doing that would intensify the flavor of the mushrooms.  I also changed up the amounts of various ingredients and added a wider range of seasonings.  None of these changes made the dish any more difficult or added significantly to the length of time necessary to prepare the dish.

This recipe makes a thick, hearty bean and vegetable stew, served hot atop pasta and topped with grated Parmesan... what's not to like about that?   Frankly, it's delicious, and hearty enough to be quite satisfying without any meat.   It's also easy and fast to make. 

Mushrooms and White Bean Stew with Campanelle

yield = 4-5 servings

1            cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4      teaspoons table salt
2            tablespoons olive oil
1            large yellow onion, thinly sliced
8            ounces cremini mushrooms, washed, trimmed and quartered
8            ounces button mushrooms, washed, trimmed and quartered
1            teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
4            teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2      teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2      teaspoon ground fennel seed
3/4         teaspoons dried oregano
1/4         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8         teaspoon dried sage
1            can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
2            cans (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2         cup freshly-chopped parsley
1            pound campanelle, farfalle, penne or other hearty pasta
              freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for serving (to taste)

Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Boil until the broth is reduced by half.  Set aside.

Add 4 quarts water and 1 teaspoon table salt to a large pot.  Bring to a boil.

While the water is heating up, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have started to brown, then add the mushrooms, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid is mostly cooked off. 

Clear an area in the center of the skillet and add garlic, thyme, fennel, oregano, crushed red pepper and sage.  Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), then stir to mix.

Add the tomatoes, beans, parsley and reduced chicken broth.  Stir to mix, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 10 minutes or until the liquid has thickened.

By now the water for the pasta should be boiling.  Add pasta to the boiling water and cook per directions, then drain.

Serve mushroom and bean mixture atop the pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

One could make this into a vegetarian dish by using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.  Going the opposite direction, this dish would also be good if one added some Italian sausage.

I used both cremini and button mushrooms, mostly because I didn't have enough creminis on hand, but for extra-rich mushroom flavor, you can double the creminis and skip the button mushrooms.

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