Mushroom Rigatoni Bake

I never thought I would say this about a cheese, but: I do not like Asiago. Sure, maybe using it in small quantities mixed with other cheeses would be fine. But when it's the star cheese in a dish, I just can't stand it. I hate the bitter, overpowering flavor.

Of course, I forgot this when I decided to make this dish. I couldn't remember what the cheese I disliked was (as I've never met another cheese I didn't like), but thought, "Eh...maybe Romano?" So sad.

This dish would be absolutely outstanding if it didn't use Asiago. In the future, I will use mozzarella and parmesan, or some other understated-yet-flavorful cheese combination. I added asparagus, which was a delight. I used baby bella mushrooms and some kind of "melange" variety pack of fancy mushrooms. I used dried thyme (1/2 tsp) instead of fresh. I used vodka instead of sherry, actual rigatoni instead of gigli or radiatore, and onions instead of shallots. Hell, I even put it in a 13x9" pan and baked at 350 instead of an 8" pan at 375! And that was all fine--everything worked out great! It even came together easily and quickly. It was just that damn Asiago. I shake my fist at thee.

By the way...I got a light box! Yippee for prettier photos!

Mushroom Rigatoni Bake
(from Cooking Light)
- 8 ounces uncooked gigli or radiatore pasta
-2 teaspoons butter
-1/4 cup sliced shallots
-8 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps
-4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon dry sherry
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
-1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese, divided
-Cooking spray
-Thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well. Set cooked pasta aside.

3. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1 tablespoon thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

This mixture was so delicious before it was ruined with Asiago. I wanted to eat it all by its lonesome.

4. Place flour in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add 1/2 cup cheese, stirring until melted. Add pasta and mushroom mixture to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

5. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

-Serves 4
-Calories: 474; Fat: 16g, Protein: 21.8g, Carbs: 61.4g


Mary said...

What a great recipe. It's perfect for Meatless Monday. I'm so glad I found your blog. I really enjoyed my visit and will be back as often as I can. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Heather said...

Thank you so much, Mary! I've been following your lovely blog for a month or two now and just love it. You take really beautiful photos and make such great looking food. As such, I'm very flattered that you like my blog. :) I hope you enjoy the recipe!

sweetlife said...

great mushroom bake, love the addition of sherry


The Cooking Photographer said...

Your asiago was bitter? I didn't realize it could be. Everything looks so beautiful here!

Heather said...

What does it usually taste like? Both of the times I've tasted it, it's been bitter. But, I grant that it could just taste that way to me. I'm particularly willing to accept that because of the very many "*gaaasp* YOU don't LIKE asiago?!"-reactions I've been getting. ;)

Cinnamon-Girl said...

This is positively delicious! It's loaded with goodies. I don't think I've ever had Asiago all on it's own - sorry you didn't like it.

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