Sometimes, you just wanna have a date with yourself. And since I've had many dates with myself, I've advanced to the point where I'm comfortable making myself dinner without fear of living up to subsequent expectations.
As is typical for someone of my personality type, there are some rational criteria for doing this properly.
- Bring your best self. Everyone needs one outfit that you can count on to make you work, even when you're tired/hungover/not really that into it. This is why I "spring" for Parmigiano on a weekly basis whenever I'm at Whole Foods. You literally never know when you're gonna need to throw it on.
- Be authentic af. An ideal date means not apologizing for what you order if it's something you really love. Here, having "whatever I want" usually means I'm having enough mushrooms to feed three.
- Open your mind. A great date expands your horizons and helps you access parts of yourself that no one else can. Today, I realized an untold gift for slicing those mushrooms into paper-thin mushroom wafers.
- Feel satisfied and successful afterwards, with zero shame. I don't know about you, but that's the dream. I personally feel v accomplished after successfully assembling a dish other people might actually want to eat. And I feel this way despite that there is a full 1 tbsp. of $10 truffle butter in this bowl.
Mushroom lovers... get rdy to swipe ➝ ➝ ➝
Every pasta shape has its calling, and though I love tucking mushroom chunks into tube pastas and spearing a fat slab shroom on a penne, it turns out spaghetti goes really well with mushrooms when they're sliced into razor-thin shavings and draped over the strands. I was surprised I had this in me: given that I still have nightmares where I hack off a finger while cutting an onion, crying (more because of the onion), I am by no means the knife skills expert and try to avoid knife action as much as possible. However, I discovered a new talent. And while I'm as much of a fan of the pre-slice as the next lazy ahole, I highly recommend getting whole ones just to challenge yourself how thin you can make those cuts. Plus, from me to you, turning a pile of unevenly-sized portabellas into super-thin shroom shavings is actually really calming, relaxing, satisfying work.
That said, I also hate exercise, so you decide if this is the right form of stress relief for you.
All you do is take a heap of paper-thin mushrooms with a single clove of garlic, sauté with butter and oil and a splash of white wine, and toss with the best quality spaghetti you can find. It's pretty shameless, yet not overly dairy-rich. You don't even need to use green in your seasoning if you don't want to, but if you feel the need, rosemary or thyme wouldn't be unwelcome in this relationship.
Last, grate on some parmigiano, sink into your couch, and watch some network television filth you pretend not to like in front of your coworkers. It looks beautiful, and it is. For once.
Plus: you know it's a good sign when your cat approves.
Get it girl.
Effortful time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 4 oz. spaghetti — I like rustichella d'abruzzo, available at Whole Foods
- 4-6 oz. mushrooms, cremini or white, sliced extremely thin
- 1 small garlic clove, sliced thin
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. truffle butter (or regular butter)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
In a deep skillet, heat salted water for pasta. It should be wide enough to fit the whole length (...) of spaghetti.
Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove stems. Using a very sharp knife, slice in paper-thin shavings.
While you're at it, slice the garlic clove too. Water should be ready now.
Cook spaghetti to 1 minute under minimum, until very al dente. Remove from water with tongs. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water and drain.
Return the skillet to stove — no need to wipe it out. Over medium heat, heat olive oil and 1/2 of the truffle butter together until melted and combined. Lazily sauté your mushrooms, about 4 minutes, until they are very soft and most of their liquid has evaporated. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more, until soft but not brown. Hit the pan with white wine, if using, and allow to evaporate.
Turn heat to low. Immediately return the pasta to the pan. Add the other half of the truffle butter and enough pasta water to loosen the sauce. The consistency should be smooth and silky, but only a nice light coat.
Grate a small amount of parm (about 6 quick grates on a microplane) into the pasta and grind black pepper. Toss one last time, balling up the pasta and "swirling" it along the sides to catch all the runaway shrooms.
Treat yourself to a long, relaxing shower. Of more parm.