Pasta with Mini Portobello Mushrooms + Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce Posted by: | April 30, 2010

I love sauce-less pasta, such as Aglo Olio. It’s a good excuse to load on the good quality extra virgin olive oil and garlic, “LOTS OF GAAARLIC” (Martin Yan accent). Plus, it’s super simple to make too. I managed to grab a pack of mini portobello mushrooms on the way back from work and that brought a big grin to my face. I love the feeling of knowing you have everything ready for a great meal on the way home. That was yesterday. Today I warmed up the same pasta for dinner after my ueber tiring spinning workout, and it was yummy still! I added a big handful of juicy cherry tomatoes and mixed it up to have a fresh, healthy meal, even if it was out of the microwave. But let’s go back to yesterday and see how I made this.

Pasta with Mini Portebello Mushrooms (slightly tweaked from “Pasta with Mushrooms” in “How To Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman)

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • A pack of Pasta Linguine or Fettuccine (500g)
  • 1 pack of mini Portobello mushrooms (about 8 mushrooms)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (or more if you like a stronger garlic taste)
  • salt & pepper
  • a bunch of cilantro for flavouring and garninshing


1. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to boil. Wash and cut the mushrooms into slices. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

2. Put 1/2 cup of oil into a large skillet or wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot, toss in the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Off the heat.

3. Drain the pasta and reserve a little of the cooking water. Toss the pasta into the mushrooms with the remaining oil, and put it back on low-medium heat. Toss it around to coat the pasta with the oil. If it seems too dry, add a little of the pasta-cooking water. Add more salt to taste and stir in your favorite herb – cilantro in my case.

What a delightful dinner right? But something is still missing… some fresh, crunchy greens…what side dish could I add to make this meal perfect, without spending more than 10 minutes?


Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce might look fancy, but it is really quick and easy to make. I wouldn’t say mine was perfect, as I would have preferred it to be much creamier and smoother in texture. However, stupid me made it in a pot which retained heat and curdled the sauce a bit even after I had taken it off the heat. Sob. From now on, I will never make it in a pan, but instead, mix the sauce in a bowl laid on top of a pot of simmering water. The steam from the hot water is just enough to make the sauce thicken without curdling it.

So here is how I should have made my Hollandaise sauce:

1. Separate 3 eggs to get 3 egg yolks. Put the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt into a glass bowl and put on top of steaming, simmering water (the water cannot touch the bottom of the bowl or it will overheat the egg yolk and curdle / cook the eggs. You really don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs instead of Hollandaise sauce). Whisk constantly until the yolks are light, foamy and slightly thickened.

2. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter at a time, until you think you have had enough for your own taste or diet (3 tablespoons for me, 6 tablespoons for many others). Return the bowl to heat and whisk until it’s thick and bright yellow. Add a squeeze of a lemon (about 1 teaspoon juice), and add salt to suit your taste. You can leave the sauce over the steaming water and whisk occasionally until serving (never serve the sauce cold!).

End result? Crunchy, light asparagus blended in rich, creamy, salty-sour Hollandaise sauce. Mmmm… That’s officially my favorite vegetable side dish. And the easiest to make too. In fact, I’m thinking of making it again this Weekend for my big Dinner party. It’s too good not to share with friends :) This is also my 3rd vegetarian dinner within a week. And against my previous beliefs, you can be totally satisfied from a meatless meal if you prepare it with just as much love & passion :)

Oh look, it’s past midnight. And guess what, it’s FRIDAY!!! Have a great Friday ahead guys and stay tuned for my big Dinner showdown on Sunday night! Menu to be revealed on Saturday!


2 Responses to “Pasta with Mini Portobello Mushrooms + Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce”

  1. phuong says:

    Does the butter need to be melt and then let cold or just soften?

    • Chi Anh says:

      Nope, you just use normal cold butter. Remember to add only 1 tablespoon at a time. If there is more butter than the egg can take, the sauce will curdle!

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