Quick Pasta, With Variations

The late great French chef Pierre Franey wrote extensively on “60-minute gourmet” recipes. When you come home tired from work, no need to shlep down to a great Asian cafe, when you can make this fine and nutritious dish at home out of food you probably have around anyway. Still…

This is a fine, quick one-dish meal, which you may accompany with a good crusty french bread. A fruity white Reisling or Gewurztraminer from California would go well here. Ginger beer or iced tea works well.

Jerry Weinberg

Quick Pasta, With Variations

Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Five Spice


  • olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic (finely minced)
  • 1-2 teaspoons ginger (fresh – finely minced)
  • 1-1½ cups mushroom mix (portobello, shiitake,button, cut into 3/4" cubes)
  • dry white wine
  • ½ pound asparagus (1-2" slices)
  • 1 cup onion (Vidalia or other mild, chopped into ½" cubes)
  • ¼-⅓ mustard (mild – honey mustard, works)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound cooked pasta

Optional Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 Tablespoons shallots (finely minced)
  • ½ pound brussels sprouts
  • 3 cups kale (washed, dried, shredded)
  • 3 cups romaine (washed, dried, shredded)
  • 3 cups dandelion greens (washed, dried, shredded – if you like bitter)
  • 1-2 cups shrimps (other cooked seafood)
  • 1-2 cups catfish (cubed – broil if first)
  • 1-2 cups chicken (cubed or shredded)
  • ½ cup black olives (good oil-cured, preferably pitted)
  • 2-3 cups shredded mild cheese (smoked mozzarella or smoked gouda are excellent)
  • parmesan (grated)
  • 1 pound pearl barley


  • Heat about 3-4 Tbls olive oil medium low, in large skillet. Add optional hot flaked pepper and cook, stirring, till darkened. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and cook stirring till shallots are translucent.
  • Add mushrooms, turn heat up to medium, and cook stirring, adding a little water and/or white wine as needed. You may need to add a little more olive oil.
  • If using the asparagus and/or brussels sprouts, add them when the mushrooms are half done (still light tan in the center) with a few Tbls water. Add the salt and about 1/3 cup mustard, and stir very well,adding more wine if dish starts to get dry.
  • When pasta or barley is done and so are the above vegetables, add the shredded greens, optional cooked meat, olives and mild onions. Quickly heat through. Turn heat to low.
  • Serving: Put pasta on plates and bring skillet to table on a trivet and serve on top of pasta. Place dishes of grated and shredded cheeses on table. Let guests serve themselves.

Leave a Reply