spinach pasta with caper mushroom sauce

caper and mushroom with spinach pasta

Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve been much better at keeping an organized kitchen.  Actually come to think of it, my home is much neater.  If folks knew me in college, or even two years ago when I was living in D.C, I was pretty messy and lazy with my home.  I remember in college, there where times that I couldn’t even walk around my room there was so much clothes, books, homework, and crap just laying in a wasteland we shall call my room.  My Mother would be so proud.

I think moving to New York forced me to grow up and mature, because the moment I moved here, organization seemed to be part of my life.  Rooms were cleaner, dishes where washed, and pantry was organized.  I think the pantry came more from trial and error of what are necessities in my life.  After a few years of living in an apartment, I’ve realized what was used often and what just became a dust collecting can and jar sculpture in the back of my pantry. I still suffer from that sometimes, just less quanitiy, I have a jar of some questionable things that is constantly calling to me every time I look in the pantry.   One thing, however, that I always have for emergencies is a can of tomatoes.

This is especially helpful when tomatoes are not in season and you still want to enjoy tomatoes during the cold weather.  Now, I lucked out with the Union Square Farmers Market because there is a vendor that sells fresh tomatoes grown in a hydroponics greenhouse, but I don’t always make it to the market when I need to make dinner quickly.  Canned tomatoes are great alternatives, because the tomatoes are canned at the ripest moments and then canned to lock in the flavor as opposed to their fresh counterparts at the store, which are picked un-ripened in order to surive the travel across the globe.  So hm – what would you choose? Juicy and flavorful or tough and bland?  Tough choice, I know.

Pasta sauce is probably the easiest thing that I have discovered to cook quickly for dinner.  It’s like a fun mix and match game and usually turns out great.  As long as you have the basics, fillers can be anything you want.  So as long as you have onion, garlic, basil, and oregano you are good.  The embellishments can then be added.  My brother had some capers just lying around, and seems to be a jar that can easily collect dust or grow a new pet,  so I threw some of that in, and because of the vegetarian thing, I used some fresh mushrooms from the market.  Throw it all in with some canned tomatoes, and yum.  A simple sauce that can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta [woah, Rachel Ray moment].  Have fun with pasta sauce, understand the different ingredients and it’s flavoring.  Be bold.  There is no need to ever buy the jar stuff again.


12 oz. fresh pasta

2 – 3 tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced (2 tbs.)

1 medium onion, diced  (1 cup)

1 tbs capers, lightly chopped

3 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 14.5 oz can of tomatoes

1 tsp dry oregano or 1 tbs fresh oregano

1 tsp dry basil or 1 tbs fresh basil

2 tbs reserved pasta water

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp salt plus 3 tbs for water

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp red chili flakes (optional)


boil water in large stockpot

season boiling water with salt and add pasta.  (cook per directions)

sauté garlic and onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent

add capers, mushrooms, tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil and stir

simmer on medium low heat, stir constantly

add reserved cooking water from pasta, red chili flakes, and Parmesan cheese

toss drained pasta with sauce and top with additional cheese if desired

-serves 4 –


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