Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baked Penne with Mushrooms and Two Cheeses

This is a nice dish to make when the weather turns cooler. I found this recipe on one of the cooking boards I read http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f20/baked-penne-with-mushrooms-and-cheeses-15321.html. I've been making it for a few years now. I usually use mozzarella cheese instead of Bel Paese, since Bel Paese is hard to find. Or should I was was hard to find when I lived in Cincinnati. The grocery stores in Austin are so much better. I was just strolling through the cheese section at Central Market and I spotted the Bel Paese. The minute I saw that cheese, I knew I had to make this recipe again. Cooking the whole garlic cloves in with the mushrooms imparts a nice subtle garlicky flavor to the entire dish.

Before you start cooking, please chop, grate and measure your ingredients.

Baked Penne with Mushrooms and Two Cheeses

1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced. (I used baby bellas from the farmers market)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled (leave whole)
4 T butter
salt & pepper
2.5 C dry penne pasta
3 oz Bel Paese cheese, cut into cubes (can substitute mozzarella cheese)
1/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 C heavy cream or half & half

Preheat oven to 400. Cook the pasta as usual, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of butter. Salt and pepper the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, saute the mushrooms and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Salt and pepper the mushrooms liberally. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Stir often so the garlic does not burn. When the mushrooms are done, discard the garlic cloves.

Butter a casserole dish (I use a souffle dish, with high sides). Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of pasta. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and then a layer of the Bel Paese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Make two or three layers. Pour the cream over the pasta and sprinkle a final dusting of cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 12 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 10-12 minutes or until a light crust forms. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 portions.

I usually serve the dish with a green salad but asparagus, broccoli or steamed green beans would also be a good side for this dish.

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