Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nurse Maura

Have you heard that doctors make the worst patients? Well, that is correct. Vance pulled a muscle in his back and has been laid up all week! He is being a trooper, but I know he secretly just wants to go back to work. Our apartment smells like Bengay, and I am doing my darndest to play nurse to my doctor. Of course I am trying to feed him well in hopes that that will heal his ailments.
I took a poor-woman's spin on Ina Garten's Conchiglie Al Forno With Mushrooms And Radicchio by changing some of the cheeses and using less expensive mushrooms. This pasta bake is delicious for dinner with a salad - it also makes a great lunch.
6 ounces baby Portabella or white mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 - 1/2 cups 
1 ½ finely shredded radicchio
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

½ cup coarsely shredded Monteray Jack cheese
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons ricotta
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pound conchiglie rigate (pasta shells) - small shells

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and reserve for another use. Slice the mushroom caps about ¼ inch thick. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet; add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, radicchio, cream, cheeses, sage, and remaining salt.

Parboil the pasta shells for 4 minutes; drain and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Divide the pasta mixture among 6 to 8 individual, shallow, ceramic gratin dishes (1 ½ - to 2 cup capacity). Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, about 7 to 10 minutes. 

 Note: You may garnish with fresh Italian parsley, but do not cook the parsley in the pasta
This dinner almost feels like an adult mac 'n cheese. It isn't too heavy and the radicchio gives it a nice texture change. If you don't have individual ramekins or want to serve from one dish you can also prepare like this in a pie dish...
Topped with a little fresh Italian parsley.

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