I love fall when the wild mushrooms shoot through the dense undergrowth of leaves and pine needles, their odd shapes like small little characters in nondescript attire. I love morel mushrooms and lobster mushrooms (which oddly do taste like lobster!) but I must say my absolute favourite is the Chantrelle mushroom. With a thick, meaty texture it’s the perfect mushroom to stand up to pasta and this dish is one of my favourites.
Mushrooms are gaining in popularity in many types of cooking, which is great news as they have recently been lauded as being one of the highest sources of anti-oxidants. Rich in B complex vitamins, Chantrelle mushrooms in particular, contain generous amounts of vitamin C and potassium, and are one of the most abundant sources of vitamin D. In addition, they boast healthy amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 (good for vegetarians), folate, copper and zinc. These host of nutrients aid in brain and liver function, nerve, bone and heart health, and the immune system. So if you’re on the fence about mushrooms, perhaps it’s time to give them a try and boost your body into better health!
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, this dish can also act as a substitute for vegetarians who won’t be eating the usual Thanksgiving turkey, but want something substantial to include in the Thanksgiving meal. Pair it with a couple of vegetable dishes, such as a Winter Stacked Salad with Fennel and Pear, Creamy Cauliflower Soup, Stuffed Holiday Acorn Squash, and a Fall Harvest Quinoa Bowl, finishing with some Sugar Cranberries and Healthy Pumpkin Pecan Bars and you’ll have yourself a Thanksgiving feast to rival any other!
Chantrelle Mushroom Pasta Bake
A mushroom dish that is beyond compare! Delicious!
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter
- 14 ounces pasta (I used casarecce but penne or another type will do, or you can use gluten-free pasta)
- 2 small leeks
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound Chantrelle mushrooms (in a pinch you could try Portobello mushrooms)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 ½ teaspoons fresh sage, or thyme, or a combination of both
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 4 ounces mild goat cheese
- 7 ounces Gruyère cheese (around 1 ½ cups)
- 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Butter a 12 inch baking dish and set aside
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in pasta with a touch of olive oil.
While the pasta is cooking, chop leeks but slicing and then quartering the slices, using the white parts only. Cut mushrooms into halves or quarters but keep them quite large but not too thick.
In a skillet, melt the butter and when hot, add the leeks, sautéing approximately 3 minutes, until the begin to become translucent. Add garlic and sauté another 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sauté about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you can see their juices.
Check pasta, and remove and drain when done. Raise heat in the skillet and add ½ cup of the vegetable stock and cook down until reduced by ½. You will keep the remaining ½ cup of stock to thin the sauce, if needed.
Stir in sage and/or thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Put the pasta into a large bowl.
With the mushroom mixture, add the goat cheese, breaking it up and stirring to make a sauce. Thin with the vegetable stock if needed to get the desired consistency. Add this mixture to the pasta and toss to coat.
Put the pasta in the baking dish. Sprinkle the Gruyère over the top. Put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, sprinkling with ½ the parsley about halfway through. Remove from oven, sprinkle with the rest of the parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!
Food for Thought: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have labouriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” ~ Victor Hugo