Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mushroom Casserole

When it is cold and rainy, like it was last night, all I is some warm, creamy, cheesy pasta. I had some nice Gruyere last night (thanks Idris!) so I wanted to do something more special then my regular old noodles and sauteed mushrooms. I decided to return back to the very first thing I ever tried to make on my own: mushroom casserole. The first time I made this was at some point in high school, so only a couple years ago, but with all the cooking I've done between then and now, it feels like ages ago! It was a recipe that I modified from Rachael Ray, who I used to watch religiously. Now I find her mildly irritating, but that's another story.

Anyway, the recipe turned out much better than I remembered it, and I would definitely make it again sometime soon. The original recipe serves 4, but this one I am posting is a half-recipe and makes either 2 larger portions, or 4 smaller ones. She also uses a mix of different mushrooms, including button, portobello, and wild mushrooms. I only had portobellos and shitakes so thats what I used. I added in a couple artichoke hearts as well, just for variety and they were tasty too. I honestly think you could use whatever your favorite mushrooms are and it would be delicious. In fact, you could switch mushrooms for any other favorite vegetable and this casserole would work just fine. I made several changes to the recipe and I'm posting my version below. You can get the original here.

Mushroom Casserole
adapted from Rachael Ray

Mushroom Sauce:
1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 tbsp butter
1 portobello mushroom cap, brushed off with damp towel and chopped finely
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup 1% milk
A pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
2 portobello mushroom caps, halved and thinly sliced
6 shitake mushrooms
1/2 lb artichoke hearts
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
3 tbsp vegetable stock
1/2 lb elbow noodles
1/3 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the elbow noodles. Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When butter melts, add in chopped mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a bubble then stir in the milk . Reduce heat to low and gently simmer. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil then the shallots, mushrooms, and artichokes. Cook for 8 minutes, until tender and then season with thyme, salt and pepper. Add stock to the pan, reduce heat to medium low and let the liquid cook off.

Preheat broiler to high. While the mushrooms cook, drop elbow noodles in water and to al dente. Drain noodles and return to hot pot. Add the sauce and mushrooms and toss noodles to coat in sauce. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and top with the shredded cheese. Place the casserole under the broiler and melt and bubble the cheese until brown at edges.

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