Mushroom Pasta Bake

I think pasta bakes are much maligned–either as convenience food or as junk food, but really, they need not be either. They can range from simple to complex, low to high carb (think of lasagne), none of which is necessarily bad. Overindulgence is what is bad. And while they can be produced from pre-packaged boxes and jars, which may be full of preservatives and e-numbers (which I would classify as junk food), they can also be produced from first principles or at least from store cupboard staples. An assortment of dry pasta can usually be found in my cupboard.

And what’s so bad about convenience? Sometimes, we need a filling meal in a hurry, or at least one that doesn’t take much effort. Pasta bakes are quick and easy to prepare, with a fairly short baking time, and can be as rich or light as you want. Since it doesn’t take any extra time, I often make enough for two meals, planning to warm up the leftovers in the microwave, which adds even more to the convenience. (Just double quantities, and use a bigger casserole dish.)Picture of plated up pasta bake

Serves 3

Ingredients:

2 cups Dry pasta shapes
1/4 pound Button mushrooms
1 tablespoon fat: butter or margarine
1-2 tablespoons Flour
 1 cup Milk
1 Spring onion
A little bit Red chilli pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dried parsley
Dash Salt and Pepper
1 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a full rolling boil. Cook pasta for HALF the normal time. Drain.
  3. While pasta is boiling, cut mushrooms into halves or quarters (if larger mushrooms).Picture of cut up mushrooms
  4. Make a thin white sauce:Melt butter over low heat in medium saucepan.
    Stir in flour with a whisk.
    Pour in some of the milk, and whisk to a smooth paste. Gradually add all the milk, whisking constantly to maintain a consistent texture.
    Increase heat to bring to a boil. Boil and stir for a minute or so, until slightly thickened.
  5. Reduce heat; add mushrooms.Picture of mushrooms cooking in white sauce
  6. Chop onion including green bits, and add to the pan, together with drained pasta and as much chilli pepper as you like. Transfer to a lightly greased casserole dish.Picture of pasta mixture in casserole dish
  7. Mix seasonings with cheese and sprinkle over pasta.
  8. Bake for one half hour, until hot through and brown on top. (Pasta will finish cooking and absorb extra liquid.)Picture of baked pasta
  9. Serve hot, with fresh green vegetables on the side.
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I'm an American living in the UK, combining rural Mid-west ideas about food with a suburban coastal British reality. It's fun!

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Posted in Recipes
8 comments on “Mushroom Pasta Bake
  1. […] Day four: Penne pasta bake with mushrooms. […]

    Like

  2. Gale Wright says:

    Just bought some mushrooms and now I know what to make with them!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gale Wright says:

    I don’t really know too much about mushrooms and mostly eat the plain ol’ kind from the grocery store. I’m too scared to go hunting for them and maybe get the wrong kind!

    Like

  4. JC says:

    This looks good. I think even I could make it! Thanks for liking my comment, on ‘Three good days’…

    Like

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Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
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March 2015
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