Friday, March 26, 2010

Mushroom Mac & Cheese

Cheese is one of my FAVORITE foods. When I came across a three page mac and cheese spread in my Food Network magazine, I just had to try one. Since I've already tried a bacon version, I figured I'd check out their rendition of mac and 'shrooms.

It was nothing that I expected. I am use to ooey and gooey texture in my mac. This mac was much like an alfredo sauce, with a twist. But I have to admit, I was very excited to try brie and romano together...and it was great. One warning: serve this as a side dish!! Having this as a main meal left me miserably full! Once you start eating it, you can't stop. But when you're finished, the full robust creaminess of the dish leaves you a bit bloated. haha.

Definitely check this out if you're interested in new flavor combos.

1 lb rigatoni or shells
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb wild mushrooms (such as oyster or shiitake,) stemmed and sliced
4 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
8 oz taleggio or brie cheese, rind removed, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 oz pecorino romano cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1) Cook pasta as directed on box. Drain and set aside - reserving about 1/4 cup cooking water.
2) Meanwhile, melt 4 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon to make a paste. Cook, stirring, until the paste puffs slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk until smooth (I struggled with this part!) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking. Reduce the head and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is creaming, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
3) Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsps butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Yes - this recipe says "meanwhile" twice. That's a lot to do at once!! You don't want to even see what I looked like trying to do this.) Add half of the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Season with salt. Push to the side of the pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
4) Reduce the head under the sauce to low and whisk in both cheeses until smooth. Stir in the mushrooms and pasta and toss, adding the reserved cooking water as needed.
5) Melt the remaining 2 tbsps of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden; stir in the parsley. Divide the pasta among 8 small bowls. Garnish with the breadcrumb mixture and enjoy!

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