Earthy mushrooms paired with a creamy sauce is always a winning combination. Try this fun alternative to a classic pasta bake, using exotic Asian mushrooms and lots of tasty bubbling cheese. Great comfort food for snuggling up with on the sofa during the cooler months.
Peeping mushroom pasta
Serves – 4
Preparation time – 30 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
30g butter, or 2 tbsp
30g plain flour, or 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
500ml lukewarm milk, or 2 cups
1/4 an onion, peeled
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
250g (9 0z) rigatoni pasta
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp grainy mustard
100g (3 1/2 oz) Gruyère, Parmesan or other mature hard cheese, grated
170g (6 oz) mixed exotic mushrooms (e.g.shimeji, enoki), trimmed and torn into single mushrooms
finely chopped fresh parsley, to serve
Melt the butter in a medium frypan over medium heat. Add the flour and mix to form a paste, cooking it for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes, then gradually add the milk, whisking continuously.
Place the pan back over medium heat; add the onion, clove, and bay leaf; and simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. If the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a little more milk 1 tbsp at a time until saucy.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/350°F.
Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil. Put the pasta in the water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package instructions say.
Finish the sauce by removing the onion, clove, and bay leaf, then adding the nutmeg and seasoning with salt and white pepper. Stir in the mustard and half the cheese.
Drain the pasta and arrange the rigatoni pieces upright tightly in four ovenproof dishes; they will look a bit like honeycomb. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Tap the base of the baking dishes to allow the sauce to get between the holes, spooning more on if necessary. Place the mushroom stalks into the rigatoni holes, leaving the caps poking out. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley on top.
This recipe is from my new book, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook, you can order your copy here.