Pasta al Gratin con Funghi e Mozzarella


I found this wonderful recipe on an Italian site and decided to try it for dinner….it was a giant hit!  I tried to reduce the calories with a very low-fat version of the beschamel sauce, but if you don’t mind the real thing, then by all means use it!  I didn’t think that using non-fat milk deterred from the taste of the final product 🙂

Pasta al Gratin con Funghi e Mozzarella

320 g. of short tubular pasta, like rigatoni

1 1/2 cups of beschamel sauce (recipe below)*

200 g of shredded mozzarella

20 g of dry porcini mushrooms

2 thinly sliced green onions or 1/2 thinly sliced  leek

40 g of grated parmesan cheese

3 fresh thyme stems

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1.  Soak the mushrooms in warm water until soft.  Once they have softened, rinse them in warm water and chop them.  Strain the soaking water and reserve for use later, if needed.

2.  Saute the mushrooms and sliced onions in some about 2 T. olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Season this with salt and pepper, and add a few thyme leaves.

3.  Turn off the heat and add the mushrooms to the beschamel sauce.  If the sauce is too dense, add a little of the mushroom soaking water.

4.  In the meantime, boil some salted water for the pasta and cook the pasta according to the directions, keeping them a bit on the al dente side.

5.  When the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan with the beschamel and mushroom mixture.  Mix it well.

6.  Lightly butter the bottom of a large casserole dish.  Add the pasta and spread it out evenly in the dish.

7.  Sprinkle the pasta with the grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Add the remaining thyme leaves.

8.  Broil the pasta dish until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.  Serve hot!


Beschamel sauce

1 1/2 c. non fat milk

1 bay leaf

1 T. butter

1/8 c. flour

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and white pepper to taste

Optional:  dash of ground nutmeg

Warm the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When melted, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until roux smells toasty but has not darkened in color, about 4 minutes. Pour in the hot milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, nutmeg and pepper. Remove from heat, and whisk in the grated cheese.

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