Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Skillet-Baked Cheese and Mushroom Pasta

No pretenses here—this rich, cheesy, hearty, cheesy, warm, cheesy pasta dish is loaded with flavor. And cheese. Light and low-cal, not so much. But on rare occasions, I think it’s ok to give in to a little culinary temptation—even if it’s triple-cheese pasta with meaty mushrooms and not much else.

This easy, one-skillet meal (besides boiling the pasta) goes from the stovetop to the oven to the table in less than 30 minutes.

Note: To make this dish vegetarian, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Serves 4

  • 7 oz small pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus 2 tsp
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Parmesn, Ricotta, and Mozzarella
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water until just al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 cup parsley. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 12-inch, ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and softened, 7-8 minutes.
Cooked Pasta Mixture
Mushrooms Beginning To Cook
Cooked Mushrooms
  1. Meanwhile, combine the three cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/2 of the cheese mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the cooked mushrooms, tomatoes, and broth to the cheese in the large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine (light on the salt—the cheeses have plenty). Add the cooked pasta mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet, swirling to coat. Add the pasta mixture and spoon the reserved cheese mixture on top.
  4. Bake until the top is bubbly and golden brown, 17-18 minutes.
Mixed Cheeses
Divided Cheese Mixture
Tomato Mixture
Pasta Added
Transfer to Skillet
Ready to Bake
Baked Pasta
Garnish with additional parsley and serve.

Skillet-Baked Cheese and Mushroom Pasta

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