Creamy Mushroom Pasta


I adore mushrooms.  I just love their earthiness.  A lot of people like them as a meat replacement in meals because they are fairly hearty.  This is completely ok with me, but my husband doesn’t quite agree.  Of course, the person who plans and prepares the meals has final say, and so sometimes he has to just put on his best game face and muddle through without meat.  Though he will often comment that a dish might be better with some meat added…. as is the case with today’s Creamy Mushroom Pasta in which he suggested pouring the mushrooms over some steak, he usually admits that it was pretty dang good and he can handle it without.

This particular dish is definitely satisfying and unless you’re a pure carnivore like my husband you won’t miss the meat.  When a dish calls for a lot of mushrooms I like to get a mix if I can.  Today I went with half and half cremini and white button mushrooms.  The recipe also left me with a choice to make regarding the cheese used, calling only for “tasty cheese”.  Knowing that it was an age old pairing I went with Gruyere, which if you are unfamiliar resembles a Swiss cheese.  Any Swiss cheese would be a good choice for this.  In fact I found an applewood smoked Swiss cheese at the store that I ALMOST went with but decided last minute on the gruyere…. maybe next time.

According to the blog in which I found this recipe it was created with an inspiration of removing the “cream of soup” aspect.  I never saw, or tried the original recipe, but I can definitely vouch for it’s success in producing a cream of mushroom soup taste, however with a definite fresher note.  I especially liked the thyme coming through in this… another age old pairing with mushrooms.  The dish holds up beautifully as leftovers, allowing me to enjoy it for lunch the next few days which is always a plus too.  One variation I might try next time is to add a splash or two of some white wine to bring a brightness and cut through some of the heaviness of the dish, but you definitely can’t go wrong with this recipe as written if you are in the mood for a great comfort dish!

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients :

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 tsp. cooking oil
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 400g sliced mushrooms (I used two 8oz packages from the store)
  • 4 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 cup tasty cheese (see note above)
  • 250g shell pasta, cooked according to package directions

Directions :

  1. Melt butter with a teaspoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When butter begins to bubble, add onion, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onion is translucent and the garlic becomes aromatic.
  2. Add sliced mushrooms and mix well.  Allow the mushrooms to cook until their size reduces to about half and they are browned.  Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and mix well.  Continue to cook, stirring for about a minute to cook out the raw flour flavor taking care not to burn it.
  3. Add vegetable stock, a quarter cup at a time.  Stir to combine each time and allow the mixture cook over a low heat and thicken between each addition.  Once all the stock has been incorporated, add the milk and again allow it to simmer and thicken. Once it resembles cream of mushroom soup add the cheese.  Cook until cheese has melted and the sauce becomes thick (like a velvety cheese sauce).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss in the cooked pasta shells and serve topped with a bit more thyme.  Other optional toppings suggested are some red pepper flakes, parsley, or a bit more pepper.

Recipe from Fuss Free Cooking

Published in: on April 21, 2015 at 8:19 am  Comments (1)  
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Mushroom – Spinach Stuffed Shells


Everyone loves stuffed shells.  What you might not know is that they are pretty easy to make… most of the time.  I say most of the time because I usually take a little help from the store and use jar sauce.  This recipe however, is all made from scratch and though it’s a bit labor intensive it’s definitely worth it.  It’s still easy to make, you just have to plan to have some time to do it.

I have always loved the combination of spinach and mushroom, and these are no exception.  I was intrigued by the use of cottage cheese, when most recipes would use ricotta, because it reminded me of my mom’s lasagna in which she also used cottage cheese.  The one thing I knew I wouldn’t be on board with was the use of fennel seed, which I just hate.  I decided just to omit that entirely and throw in some things like basil, parsley, and oregano which turned out nicely.

The filling makes quite a lot, more than enough for 8 oz of pasta.  I just went ahead and prepared the whole 12 oz box of shells and though I had some left over it wasn’t hard to find someone to gobble them up lol.  The recipe does call for white mushrooms, but I just love the more earthy flavor of the crimini so went with those.  This recipe also calls for frozen spinach out of convenience I imagine, but I am sure you could use fresh too if you wanted.

On a side note, I apologize for not posting as many recipes lately.  I have just been a bit busy at home, we’ve gone through a lot of illness this year, and we’ve been eating out or repeating meals more lately as well.  I have a few planned to make soon, so hopefully it won’t be as long before the next recipe is posted.  Thanks for your patience!

 

Mushroom – Spinach Stuffed Shells

Ingredients :

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. jumbo shells
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 C. low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 C. mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/3 C. parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 C. fresh basil, chopped

Tomato Sauce Ingredients :

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (see note above)
  • lg. pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz) can tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • kosher salt

Cheese Sauce Ingredients :

  • 1/4 C. low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 C. mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 T. parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

 

Directions :

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook until slightly softened but still firm, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drizzle with olive oil and toss; set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 more minutes. Add the spinach and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Finely chop the spinach-mushroom mixture and combine in a bowl with the cottage cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of the filling; set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, then rinse out the can with 1 cup water and add to the skillet; add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the skillet and rinse out the blender.
  6. Combine the cottage cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and egg in the blender and puree until smooth.
  7. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil and pour in half of the tomato sauce. Add the stuffed shells, then top with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes; uncover and continue baking until bubbly, 15 to 20 more minutes. Turn on the broiler; drizzle the shells with the cheese sauce and broil, about 2 minutes.

Recipe from Full Fork Ahead

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