Friday, November 12, 2010

Mushroom Baked Pasta

I love to buy mushrooms, especially now that our supermarkets pack lots of varieties of fresh mushrooms at affordable prices.  I bought the Enoki mushrooms (stir-fried with lettuce & 腐乳) - just $0.70 for one big packet (I think is from Taiwan), Portobello mushrooms and King Oyster mushrooms.  Portobello is great for grilling, soups or even for vegetarian burgers (replace meat patties).  I like to slice the King Oyster Mushrooms and use them as "abalone", served on top of a bed of vegetables.  

For this baked pasta dish, I combined portobello and king oyster mushrooms with celery/carrot.    This is a easy way to get your kids to eat more vegetables if they hate their greens.  Portobello mushrooms has a meaty taste, so it helps to balance out the flavour since no meat is used in this dish.  While this may looks very creamy, fret not, there's NO CREAM in it - simply milk and a handful of shredded cheese sprinkled on top for that cheesy effect:

Mushroom Baked Pasta
Here are the main ingredients required:

From 12th position (clockwise): portobello mushrooms, shredded cheese, tomato sauce & sun-dried tomato, Penne (pasta), garlic and onions, king oyster mushroom, celery.   

Ingredients for white sauce:
1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken/vegetable stock (or replace with 2 tbsp Campbell's cream of chicken + 1/2 cup milk)
Salt/pepper to taste

Prepare the vegetable sauce:
1) Heat olive oil in pot on low heat, add chopped celery and carrot.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add chopped onion and continue to cook on low heat till the vegetables become soft.
2) In another pan, turn on high heat.  When the pan is very hot, add oil (or butter), chopped mushrooms and quickly give it a few toss.  Continue to toss until the mushroom softens a little.  Push the mushrooms to one side, add some oil to saute the garlic (still on high heat) and toss it together with the mushrooms.
3) Add the vegetables (in pot) to the pan and toss all ingredients together.  Add tomato sauce, chopped sundried tomato and 1/2 tsp of Italian dried herbs (for pasta and pizza).
4) Pour all vegetables back into the pot and add water to cover content.  Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

Prepare the white sauce
5) Heat 1 tbsp oil/butter in pot over low heat.  Add plain flour and quickly whisk the flour into the oil to cook the flour and prevent it from being burnt.
6) Add milk (a little at a time) and continue to whisk the content to prevent the flour from getting lumpy.  Add the stock.
7) Cook for 10 minutes and season with salt/pepper.

Cook pasta, assemble and bake
8) Cook the pasta in boiling water till soft and drain water.
9) Toss the pasta in half the vegetable sauce and white sauce.  Pour into lightly greased baking dish.
10) Pour the remaining vegetable sauce over the pasta, followed by the white sauce on top.
11) Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake at 175C for 15 minutes.

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