Creamy cauliflower sauce, I mean. How long has it been now? Years? I first posted the recipe for that garlicky, creamy, healthier Alfredo type sauce in 2012, and then in 2013 I wrote a whole bunch of other recipes including a whole ecookbook with recipes using the cauliflower sauce because you and I both Could. Not. Stop. and now here it is again! Making it’s grand entrance back into my life in the most delicious pan-roasted mushroom way.
Speaking of pan-roasted mushrooms, uhmm, those little shnugins are good. When you melt a little butter in that pan and get it really nice and sizzling hot, just before browning, and then you toss in those fresh, clean, pale mushrooms and watch them soak and sizzle and slowly turn the perfect shade of roasty golden brown right before your very eyes… that’s when you know the truth about mushrooms. I’m not even going to talk about adding garlic, white wine, or any of that because I will fall right off the edge.
If I had an oven, I wou– just kidding. I won’t start that whole thing again.
But since I actually don’t have an oven and won’t have an oven until five days from now *eeeeee* I made this at HOME home, like my parent’s house, and my 12 year old brother came in and saw it being all put together and started snatching mushrooms right out of the pan. What in the? LITTLE BOY KNOWS.
You guys, I have to talk to you about something and it’s a podcast called Serial. It was recommended to me by a number of people and I’ve recently been diving head-first into the series with complete and utter reckless abandon. It’s like that with TV and me – binge-watching through a season is how I most enjoy my entertainment. So now that Serial has me wrapped around its finger, I’ve been plowing through those episodes like it’s my job. Sometimes I pull into my parents’ driveway, an hour drive from our house, and I have no recollection whatsoever of actually driving myself there. But I can, more importantly, recall every detail about Asia McLean’s letters and what truly happened in the library on January 13th, 1999.
Oh, no. I’m that girl.
If you podcast, you must start Serial. I take no responsibility for your missed meetings, appointments, and general distraction of life.
Also, if you mushroom, which I know you do because we just go together that way, you must try this deep, cheesy pan of cozy winterish comfort food.
This beauty is going to combine pan-roasted mushrooms with whole wheat pasta with the really defined ridges (mmm texture!) and creamy cauliflower sauce tossed up together, and then baked under a blanket of Gruyere cheese and decorated with fresh sage ribbons. How good is sage, by the way? Oh my gosh IT’S GOOD. Those pretty, fragrant, clean-and-cozy smelling velvety leaves are my Fall 2014 food muse.
Okay everybody put your face up to the screen now for a virtual eating together experience. Ready? One, two, three:
Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake with pan-roasted mushrooms, whole wheat penne pasta, creamy cauliflower sauce, and Gruyere cheese.
- 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 head cauliflower (about 6-7 cups of florets)
- 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
- 3/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 24 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- fresh sage, sliced into thin ribbons
- extras: caramelized onions, bacon, sausage
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes – it should still be a little firm. Drain, toss with a drizzle of oil, and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the cauliflower, and cook for 5 minutes until tender-crisp. Meanwhile saute the minced garlic with a tablespoon of butter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked cauliflower to a blender with 2 cups broth, milk, oil, salt, and sauteed garlic. Puree until very smooth. You might need to do this in batches.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the 3 tablespoons butter in a very large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown.
- Toss the cooked pasta, cauliflower sauce, and mushrooms together. Add the remaining cup of broth to help the consistency stay saucy.
- Transfer to a deep 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered at 400 for 10-15 minutes. Some of the moisture from the mushrooms will seep out – give it a quick stir to reincorporate it and make it creamy. Top with fresh sage ribbons.
If you have time and want some extra flavor, add some caramelized onions, bacon, or sausage to the pasta before mixing and baking. YUM!