Mushroomy Noodles and Gravy

We made this quick weeknight dinner on Thursday. The original idea was pasta with a mushroom cream sauce, but it ended up more like biscuits and gravy with noodles instead of biscuits. Not that I'm complaining - it was delicious!

I started my new farm job this week! I'm working at JenEhr Family Farm in Sun Prairie. Once we start harvesting, I'll be in charge of the pack shed - that means mostly post harvest stuff: washing and boxing produce for the farm's wholesale accounts, farmer's market, and CSA shares. There's not a whole lot that's ready for harvest this early in the season, so I've been working with the crew (all female!) in the hoop houses where there are quite a few little plants in need of water, weeding, and thinning. My first week was exhausting (my body has to get used to such a physically active job,) but oh so fun! It feels really good to have a job that gets me outside and working with my hands!

These mushrooms were my first free-bee from the farm. They use compost from a Vermont mushroom farm in all the hoop houses, and every once in a while mushrooms sprout up. Before I got there, no one at JenEhr had dared to eat them. Although they were pretty sure these were the same white mushrooms that the mushroom farm grows, they were a little reticent to try them. Unidentified mushrooms are not something to take lightly - eat the wrong one and you could die! I was pretty sure that these two beauties were overgrown white button mushrooms. I took them home and did a quick Internet search to make sure that there's no poisonous mushrooms that look similar. There weren't. They're a little darker brown than white mushrooms you get in the store since they were grown in a hoop house with lots of light, and usually white mushrooms are grown in the dark to prevent them from getting brown. They're also a lot bigger than a normal white mushroom, but that's just because they were allowed to grow and weren't harvested when they were little.

Once I cut them up, I knew for sure they were perfectly edible. They looked, smelled, and tasted just like white mushrooms should.

I browned some local grass fed ground beef and added the mushrooms. Once they were cooked, I started to think about the sauce. I was imagining some sort of cream sauce, but I didn't want to take the time or effort to make a traditional white sauce, so I improvised. I added some milk to the beef and mushrooms, then some grated Parmesan cheese. It seemed pretty thin, so I mixed up some flour and a little milk in a separate container (to get the lumps out of the flour) and added it to the pan to thicken.

A little salt and rosemary and it was good to go! It made a wonderful thick, creamy, cheesy gravy like sauce. Rich and delicious!

We ate it over top this beautiful organic spinach linguine.

Ta-da! A wonderfully easy midweek meal. This was one of those days that I felt way too tired to cook, and I was very tempted to order out. I resisted and cooked something up, and as always, it was totally worth it - Much tastier than any take-out!

Mushroomy Noodles and Gravy

1 lb Ground Beef, preferably grass fed
2 very large white mushrooms, or Portabellas would work too
2-3 cups whole milk
4-6 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup or less flour
Rosemary powder
Spinach linguine, or other noodles

Brown the beef in a cast iron skillet. When it is nicely cooked, add chopped mushrooms and continue cooking till mushrooms are tender. Add enough milk to make it saucy, and as much cheese as you want. Mix flour with a little more milk in a separate bowl until the flour is smooth and not lumpy. Add flour mixture to the skillet and cook over low heat until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and rosemary. Serve over noodles.

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