AFC SPAGHETTI MUSHROOM ALFREDO for Steve
If someone wants to occasionally indulge in a higher calorie and fat dish, plus they want large or extra-large portions, I’d say take this one, for a sky-high experience!
That was Steve’s Request. Lots of happy sounds were heard while he savored this meal. The Animal-Free Chef at your service! As always.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 lg. sweet onions – cut ends off, cut in half from end to end, then slice into 1/4 inch wide half rings
1 lg. thumb-size piece of fresh ginger root, peeled, cut into very thin slabs, then into tiny sticks
1 c. sliced celery – 1/2 inch wide pieces
1 t. sea salt
fresh grind black pepper
In extra-large skillet, over med. heat, melt oil.
Add onions, celery, ginger, salt and pepper, then saute till wilted.
Lower heat and continue to cook and stir till caramelized. Set aside.
2 T. margarine
8 oz. pkg. fresh crimini mushrooms, washed well and cut into chunks
8 oz. white button mushrooms, washed well and cut into chunks
1 whole bulb fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 t. sea salt
fresh grind black pepper
2 T. sm. capers, drained
4-5 ripe Roma tomatoes – cut ends off, cut in half from end to end, then crosswise into 3/8 inch wide half slices
In large separate skillet, over med. heat, melt margarine.
Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute till liquid begins to seep from the mushrooms, then add capers and lower heat to med.-low. Finish the saute when mushrooms are tender, even if there is still liquid from them in the pan. Turn heat off.
When onions are caramelized transfer mushrooms to the onions, add the Roma tomatoes, stir well, then remove from heat till spaghetti is ready to serve, then reheat just till hot.
Preparing the Spaghetti Alfredo part:
1/4 c. margarine at room temperature
8 oz. vegan mozzarella shreds – I used Follow Your Heart brand – at room temperature so it will melt easier when tossed with the spaghetti.
1 bunch fresh cilantro – wash well while still attached to the band, then chop off head of cilantro bunch about halfway down, place in colander, wash well to remove sand and drain, then chop finely on a board mincing the top smaller stems with the leaves
garlic powder to taste
1 lb. dried spaghetti pasta – cook in lots of sufficiently salted boiling water till tender. Scoop out about 2 lg. ladles of the boiling water and place in a separate bowl. Drain the spaghetti, return to empty pot. Add the 2 cups boiling water, margarine and entire package of cheese shreds. Toss till cheese softens and margarine melts.
Add chopped cilantro and lots of garlic powder – toss well to evenly distribute. Adjust pasta for salt and pepper.
Place spaghetti Alfredo on individual dinner plates. Spoon generous amount of veggies over spaghetti and serve. Or top with vegan parmesan cheese as Steve requested.
Notes: Steve knew before asking that most of what I cook these days is very low fat or contains no fat at all. He wanted to twirl (code for spaghetti) with mushrooms, onions, fresh tomato, garlic, ginger and lots of fat. ‘Add the fresh tomato last after you remove it from heat so it doesn’t cook. Lots of black pepper’. I said I can do that. ‘I don’t want fat-free’, he said. Okay, lots of fat it is. ‘I want extra virgin olive oil and margarine. In the spaghetti too. Toss the margarine with the spaghetti and fresh cilantro – lots of fresh cilantro’.
Well, this dish weighed in pretty hefty with the fat, though it did not taste nearly as fatty nor feel to the mouth as fatty and cumbersome as animal-based Aldredos. It did however surpass the animal version in the flavor department. It wasn’t heavy and the flavors combined to make it taste like the mushrooms were cooked in wine. It didn’t clump up until leftovers were refrigerated overnight separately.
The next night I reheated the spaghetti in a large skillet with some water to thin it, then cooked to evaporate some of the water while plumping the spaghetti. I then added the leftover vegetables to the skillet and mixed them in. Additional salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste was all it took to make a superior tasting and feeling pasta bowl with mushroom and veggies. Out of sight delicious.
I only tasted, while Steve enjoyed every taste of the rest. Although he wanted a parmesan topper, it wasn’t necessary.
When calculating the calorie and fat gram counts I didn’t add in any of the veggies, since they’re considered to be free foods, and I didn’t want to do the added work of it (although usually I do). Whatever difference it would have made in the totals would have been negligible. So here goes, for the entire dish minus the parmesan topper.
Total Calories = 2960
Total Fat grams = 146 x 9 cal./gram = 1314 divided by 2960 = .443 or 44% Fat Calorie/Total Calorie Ratio
Over a two day period Steve ate all but a small portion for Lilly Belle, since I fed her separately before he got home. She of course loved it. And I consumed about 1/2 cup spaghetti and veggies as a taster portion. The first night it was served, I tasted the spaghetti after it was mixed with the cheese, and the mushrooms as I cooked them. Some chefs never taste what they cook, since they memorize the recipes they replicate. Since I develop recipes it’s imperative that I do taste.
What surprised me was the amount of fat calories to total calories. Although it was high flavor, it was not nearly as rich and heavy tasting as the animal-based version, probably because of all the veggies plus I wet the pasta before adding the cheese to make the noodles more slippery, which is exactly what it did. You wouldn’t know by eating it that it was so high in calories and fat, because it taste light – beautifully light and flavorful beyond limits.
Now, serving size is relative. Restaurants serve large portions. If at home, Steve would have second or third helpings. To demonstrate his restraint, he left half of it for the next night. Considering that there were so many veggies in this dish, I recommend that the entire dish minus the parmesan topper make 8 servings. If serving company you’d have to reduce that to 4 since you don’t want to scrimp with company.
It wasn’t difficult for me to pass up this dish. Although I had a taster portion, I usually would have gone for a lot more, but I’m focused on losing fat and after two weeks of reducing fat in my diet, I don’t crave it as much. Even if I start to eat something fatty, it’s easier for me to say no to more.
I’m going with AFC SPAGHETTI MUSHROOM ALFREDO makes 8 servings.