When Andrew leaves town I bring on the mushrooms, it's just the way our marriage survives.
Plus I figure it's the only way I'm going to get my kids to learn to like mushrooms because I can't serve them when their father is around, it would cause the poor man just too much pain.
When I served it up to my little epicurean skeptics I assured them it was "just macaroni and cheese with a few mushrooms thrown in" though for those of us who love the fungi it needs no apology. Most (with the exception of Spencer) agreed it was tasty and highly desirable.
And to make it more easily? I have a bag of dried shiitake mushrooms I've been using and I combined those with the criminis to make them go farther.
16 ounces fusilli or rotini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
10 ounces chopped crimini mushrooms
10 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups low-fat milk
2 cups grated asiago cheese
Parmesan for topping
Boil 1 1/2 cups of water and pour over the dried shiitake mushroom slices, allowing them to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms but reserve the liquid.
Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a nonstick pan and saute the onions for about 3-4 minutes over a medium heat or until they're soft and translucent. Add crimini and shiitake mushrooms, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are browned and tender.
Add the flour to the mix, stirring until the mushroom mix is thoroughly coated then whisk in the milk, scraping up the bottom and whisking to get an even texture. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and boil for two more minutes then remove from heat and stir in cheese until it melts.
Add the pasta and stir to coat it then pour pasta into a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until it's lightly browned on top. Sprinkle each serving with a bit of Parmesan cheese if you like.
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