Have you noticed how pasta has almost crossed over into the land of junk food? Sad, huh? Cookies, candy, pop and pasta? Hmmm…that doesn’t sound right, does it? You would think that you would have to eat all your pasta before you went ahead and had your cookies and candy. LOL. This makes me quite sad, seeing as I’m pretty much addicted to pasta, even if it is pretty much void of any and all nutritional value.
Luckily, there is a solution! I love the wide variety of whole wheat and whole grain pastas available now. They have really taken off! Where was the whole wheat pasta 5 years ago? 5 years ago, I was quite the conisour pasta…I would have starved to death in college without it, and I swear in all the time I spent in the pasta aisle I didn’t notice any whole wheat varieties! I’m sure they were there, but there was probably only one ot two to choose from. Now you can get it in almost any shape. Hooray! I can have my pasta and eat it too…and not feel like I’ve just stuffed my face full of a couple donuts and a case of Mountain Dew when I’m done. LOVE it! They are tad bit more expensive, but worth it, in my opinion. I have completely eliminated regular dried pasta from the house, except in special situations.
This meatless meal from Cooking Light is insanely delicious. Whole wheat pasta, chunky, meaty mushrooms, woodsy thyme…all smothered and baked up in an asisago cheese sauce. So.freakin.good. I swear you don’t even miss the meat! Even my meat loving hubby loves this one! MMMMM!
MUSHROOM RIGATONI BAKE (Recipe Adapted From: Cooking Light)
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1/4 cup sliced shallots
- 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms, ( Okay, so the original recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms….however….those were not on sale at the store. Great price on the buttons this week so that’s what I used. I apologize for my foodie sin, I am a tightwad before anything else)
- 4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (aka Baby Bellas)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (I subbed Marsala because that’s what I had on hand)
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well. Set cooked pasta aside.
- 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.
- 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. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.