Author: Celia Spivack
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Yield: 6-8 servings
I love pasta, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, individually and all together. I especially love these things when mixed in a creamy sauce with leftover turkey, chicken, ham or even canned tuna fish. It isn't the most beautiful dish you will cook, but I believe it is one of the tastiest and most satisfying you will eat. This casserole can be put together and baked for a quick dinner or prepared just up to the point of baking and refrigerated until half an hour before serving when you pop in into a 375 degree F. oven to heat through to bubbling. I got this particular recipe from an old friend many years ago and I just rescued it from the well-worn, folded paper covered with spots of butter and burns on the edges from sitting too close to the burner as I cooked it time and again. While Parmigiano-Reggiano is more expensive per pound than other forms of Parmesan cheese, the flavor is more intense, so a little goes a long way. To get the best results, you should grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese just before you use it. A microplane makes easy work of that and the fine shreds it produces melt effortlessly into the sauce. If you want to make this a one dish meal, you can add cooked broccoli florets to the mixture before the final heating.
- 8 ounces of spaghetti or spaghettini.
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry or vermouth
- 1 cup (~ a 4 ounce chunk) shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3/4 pound sliced button mushrooms
- 3 cups diced chicken, turkey or ham or 2 7-ounce cans of tuna, drained
- Salt and pepper
- Toasted sliced almonds or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is tender, but not mushy (al dente). Drain, saving 1/2 cup of the cooking water in case the final mixture seems dry.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms, adding salt and pepper to taste. When the mushrooms stop releasing liquid, push them to one side of the pan, melt the rest of the butter in the empty side, add the flour to the melted butter and cook while stirring the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes, coating all of the flour with butter. This will stop the flour from having a raw, pasty taste in the final dish. Gradually stir the milk and wine into the butter-flour mixture and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted into the sauce. Stir in the protein you have chosen (chicken, turkey, ham, tuna, etc.) and the cooked pasta. If the mixture seems dry, use the reserved cooking water to make it moister as needed.
- Pour the mixture into a 2 quart shallow casserole dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. If you have prepared the casserole ahead of time and refrigerated it, bake for 25-30 minutes.
- When you serve this, you can garnish the top with toasted sliced almonds, parsley leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.