Saturday, September 15, 2012

Late Night Date Night with Stuffed Mushrooms and Homemade Pasta

Since having our cute goon of a child, we have had to get creative with dating. We have awesome friends who often volunteer to watch Emmett but sometimes we realize in the middle of a crazy week, "Crap, I haven't really talked with you in a couple of days and it is too late to get a sitter for tonight!"

Enter the late night date night. 

Step 1: Enjoy a glass of wine and some light snacking whilst letting the toddler play with trucks or watch Thomas the Tank Engine until bedtime.

Step 2: Put said toddler down to bed.

Step 3: Make a romantic, at-home meal with your boo. Yes, you may not eat until 8:30 or 9 but you have been snacking up until this point and the meal will taste SO much better when you don't have to eat it lukewarm because you are cutting kid-size bites and wiping ketchup smears off of the table.

You can always make something easy so that you have more time to chill together but, at the Spitzer household, we love a little bit of fanciness in our date night eating!

This week we made stuffed baby bella mushrooms and homemade pasta with Pomodoro sauce.

*Warning: The pictures in this blog were mostly taken after the sun had set since it was late night date night. Please pardon the dark pics!

We had a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from the garden that we needed to use!
I wanted a sauce that didn't mess too much with my pretty tomatoes, so I chose a basic Pomodoro sauce. 

For the pasta, we used my $85 pasta machine that I found, unused, at Goodwill for $5 [sorry for the brag, but I couldn't resist].

We followed Jamie Oliver's recipe for pasta but made it in the food processor rather than by the "well method."

We only used half of the dough and it made more than enough pasta for four people.

It was really fun to make together and really easy, especially with the help of our food processor and $5 Goodwill find.

Pomodoro Pasta Sauce
Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, chop tomatoes [however many you have, I used about a pound and a half] and added them to the saucepan along with a couple cloves of chopped garlic. Sprinkle the mixture with a pinch of both salt and pepper.

Let the tomatoes saute until the juice starts to come out [approximately 5 minutes]. 

Remove from the heat and stir in at least 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.

Once our pasta was ready [only took about 4 minutes to cook]. We tossed it with the sauce and served it with Garlic bread.

The pasta and sauce was awesome but the best part of the night was our stuffed mushroom appetizer.

This is SUCH an easy stuffed mushroom recipe but it made one of the best stuffed mushrooms that I have ever had!

Pecorino Romano Stuffed Mushrooms
*yields approximately 15 mushrooms
1/3 of a small load of good, crusty bread [I used one of the Costco brand rosemary olive oil loaves] 
2 T olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 c. grated pecorino romano cheese [feel free to use parm or asiago]
1/3 c. water
15 baby bella or button mushrooms

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place chunks of the bread in a food processor and pulse into the bread turns into crumbs. [It helps if the bread is stale. If not feel free to slice and toast lightly before processing]

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the bread crumbs, garlic powder and oregano and saute over medium heat until golden brown, approximately 6-7 minutes.

Remove the bread crumbs from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir to combine.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the water to bind the mixture. The mixture should still look fairly crumby.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Stuff the caps with about one teaspoon of the mixture per cap.

Place the stuffed mushrooms on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake until the crumb mixture is golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Cheesy, salty and awesome!

Whoops, how did our mushroom caps fall into the leftover gravy boat full of pecorino romano cream sauce that we served over roasted veggies the previous night? Please don't try this at home. It was gross and you will probably have to force down every mouthful!
I hope this inspires you to think outside the box when it comes to date nights. You don't have to plan ahead, make a reservation and find a sitter all the time. Sometimes all it takes is a little willingness to be intentional and creative when you have some alone time.

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