Vampire Antidote: Gluten-free Garlicky Mushroom Pasta

Vampires appear to be running rampant recently with all those Twilight fans prowling the streets for Edward Cullen.  Anywhere you turn there are TV shows about vampires, movies about vampires, books about vampires…it seems that the vampire trend is alive and well.  The world seems to be in serious need of a vampire antidote. But not from those vampires.  I admit my knowledge of Twilight and the whole being-a-vampire-is-like-the-coolest-thing-ever movement are restricted to seeing a whole half hour of the first movie because I lured to watch it through promises of popcorn and beer (Now that is just plain evil! ).  But I think that there are bigger vampires out there, sucking the life out of us all, and they remain largely invisible.  The vampires I’m talking about have no relation to Dracula and Nosferatu – no these vampires are the things that keep us up at night with minds checking off and constructing mental to-do lists and leave us exhausted with our bodies battered and worn.  These vampires are jobs we work too many hours at that we may not even like, obligations that result from “say-yes” syndrome, and tasks that pile up as we stretch ourselves too thin.  Yeah…those vampires.

I am personally guilty of allowing all of those things to suck the life out of me, leaving me exhausted with a blood-caffeine level that I’m afraid to even contemplate.  Between trying to finish graduate school (come on MAY!), working two jobs, planning a wedding, and keeping upright – I’ve become a bit tattered and worn.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I’ve decided to try and fend off those vampires.  I’m making two spring resolutions to work at for the next month:

1. Cook for myself more often (and not the same stuff either!). As I’ve mentioned before, I use to do this all the time but recently I have fallen into a rut and gotten bored. Time for some experimentation!

2. 30 day yoga challenge. Starting April 1 – I am going to do yoga, for 30 minutes a day, for 30 days. No matter what.   Yoga really helps me focus and my body really, really likes it.  I’m still rehabbing from ankle and knee injury and yoga seems to be helping me a lot.  I’ve only done formal classes about 3 times. I mostly practice at home – but I really want to try some classes at studios and try different styles of yoga.  I’m really excited for this and I will be documenting the yoga that I did (style, time, etc) in the Daily Eats section!

I got a headstart on my first resolution today by whipping up an at-home version of one of my absolute favorite restaurant dishes.  On my way to work, I pass my favorite Italian restaurant every day. It’s torture, truly.  They have amazing seafood and this garlicky mushroom pasta that is absolutely out of this world.  I’ve been eating that dish for a good 3 years and I could easily continue to eat it for 3 more – except, it’s not gluten-free.  Today, the smell of this dish floating out of the restaurant was especially alluring  and I have been craving it all day.  I decided to try and recreate this dish at home with a gluten-free (and healthier) spin and I totally nailed it. Not to be cocky, but damn. It’s good.

This pasta is not for the faint of heart – it has serious, serious garlic power – which makes it an excellent vampire antidote , in case, you know, any rabid Twihards come knocking at your door (not such a good date dish though…).  Garlic is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral so this dish is chock full of killing power (the good kind!). The chopping, sautéing, and fragrance of this dish as it cooks it therapeutic and relaxing. Overall, the dish is a totally vampire killer – for both Draculian and real-world suckers alike.

Gluten-free Garlicky Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 2 servings

4 oz. gluten-free spaghetti pasta (I used Quinoa spaghetti)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, thinly sliced

3 medium-large cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (adjust this to your tastes!)

1 tsp. fresh oregano, thinly chopped (you can use dry, just use ½ tsp. try to get fresh though – it’s a much more beautiful flavor)

1 tsp. red chili flakes (you can adjust this or eliminate it all together depending on how spicy you like your food – this is pretty spicy!)

2 cups of mushrooms, thinly sliced (do however many mushrooms you like!)

¼ cup dry white wine

splash of reserved pasta water

salt + pepper to taste

some chopped fresh arugula, for garnish (optional)

swirl of balsamic vinegar, optional

1. Boil your pasta and cook according to package instructions. Before draining – reserve a small amount of the pasta water – just a ladle full will do. Drain pasta, rinse, and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Once heated, add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add garlic to pan and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until garlic is tender. Be careful not to burn the garlic! If necessary, lower the heat.

4. Add in red chili flakes and oregano, sauté for 1 minute.

5. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are browned and softened, about 5-7 minutes.

6. Add white wine and de-glaze pan, scraping up any garlic or other goodies stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let simmer for about 3 minutes to let the alcohol cook off. *Note: you can skip this step if you would like. I think the wine adds a great layer of flavor – if you would rather not use wine, try some chicken stock.

7. Add pasta with reserved pasta water to the pan and toss together until warmed through.