Feeding a family of four on food stamps is no easy feat, which is why we’re creating this weekly series on affordable recipes. Each week, we’ll put out a new recipe that’s wholesome, healthy and, best of all, easy on the pocketbook.
The Meal: Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil
Pasta is a huge favorite across the country because it’s inexpensive, widely available, easy to prepare, and can be cooked in so many different ways. It also leaves you feeling full after you eat it, which isn’t always the case when on food stamps. Tip: Give the ingredients and instructions list a quick read before you start to be as efficient as possible.
What You’ll Need2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil You can substitute regular oil if you have it on hand, and it won’t make a huge difference in taste3 cloves of minced garlic To mince garlic the easy way, peel the papery skin off, cut the ends off in little slivers and throw away, and then cut up into as many small pieces as possible. It goes even more easily if you use the butt end of the knife to crush the garlic first2 ounces of shiitake mushrooms Cut the stems off and leave them whole, and then cut the heads into ¼ inch slices2 teaspoons grated lemon zest It’s not absolutely vital to have the lemons as they can be a little expensive, but they do add another dimension of freshness. To get lemon zest, use a cheese peeler and grate off just enough of the skin so the color’s gone on the lemon2 tablespoons lemon juice Once you’ve grated the lemons, roll them hard on the counter to smush the insides. This makes it a lot easier to squeeze juice out of1/4 teaspoon of saltA dash of black pepper Just use enough to be able to taste it, and you can add it after if you’re not sure8 ounces of fettuccine or spaghetti The healthier version calls for whole-wheat pasta, but some people find it tougher to chew than the white version, so you can use either one1/2 cup Parmesan cheese Freshly grated parmesan cheese tastes better, but it’s also more expensive and using powdered parmesan cheese is just as fine1/2 cup chopped fresh basil It’s an individual preference as to how finely chopped the basil should be, but remember that the smaller it’s chopped up, the less likely you are to have a whole tooth covered in one basil piece
What You’ll Need to Do
Boil a big pot of water. Adding a bit of salt gives the water a higher boiling point, which means the water you’ll be using will be hotter and will cook the pasta a little bit faster. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add in the pasta and turn the heat down to about 3:00 so the starch doesn’t cause it to boil overTurn the stove onto low heat and warm the oil in it. The garlic is the first to go in and it needs about a minute to brown.Add the mushrooms in with the garlic and turn the heat up to medium-ish (about 5 or 6:00 on the dial), and sauté them until they’re browned (4-5 minutes).Finally, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir, and then take it off the elementOnce the pasta is cooked and tender (the white line in the middle should be gone, or you can throw a strand against the wall and if it sticks, it’s cooked, or you can just taste a strand), drain it from the water but leave yourself ½ cupThrow everything into a skillet (the ½ cup of cooking water, the drained pasta, the sautéed goods, and the parmesan cheese), stir everything to make sure it’s mixed well, and then serve