Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gourmet Portobello Mac & Cheese

One of the most important things I've learned about residence and fellowship is that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get things done.  Brian and I are in the middle of a crazy stretch... his call weekend, my work weekend, his regular work week, my night shift stretch, etc.  You get the picture!  I wasn't willing to let a whole week pass without spending at least a few hours with my hubs which meant one thing... ROAD TRIP!  This long, crazy stretch will be so worth it when we're able to load up and head to Arkansas for a long weekend!  YEHAW!

I was able to find a few hours this weekend to sneak up to Wilkes-Barre.  After hearing for days that Brian was either at Panera or chewing on sunflower seeds for dinner, I thought it would be nice for him to have a real meal for dinner.  I've always heard that the way to a mans heart is through his belly :)  I loaded up the Prius with a few spices, a few bags of groceries, and Brian's cast iron skillet.

I'm a firm believer that macaroni and cheese should be it's own food group!  I love it.  All kinds. All shapes.  All combinations of cheese.

This dish is one that reminds me of something you would get at a fine steakhouse.  It's perfect for a dinner party but in all honesty is probably "too much" for just a normal date night for two.  This is mainly because the cheese can get a bit pricey and it makes way too much for just two people.  It would be perfect for a group of four to six.   I promise if you pull this out at your next dinner party your guests will leave full, happy, and begging for the recipe.  It doesn't hurt that it's baked and served in cast iron. Cast iron makes everything better!  We served this with Brian's pan seared scallops but it would also be awesome with a big, juicy, medium rare steak.  It's rich, it's savory, and it's delicious.  Mmmmmm.

My next project is to find some individual size cast iron skillets...  I see a dinner party in our near future!  Who's coming??


The iPhone photo DOES NOT do this justice :) 

Gourmet Mushroom Mac & Cheese
(recipe from leitesculinaria.com)


  • Handful coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 1 pound macaroni (a classy macaroni called cavatappi is shown in the photo above)
  • 10 ounces portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed level with cap, gills removed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed grated white Cheddar, plus more to taste
  • 2/3 cup tightly packed grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
  • 8 ounces Taleggio, rind removed, diced or sliced
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
  • 3. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet, stem-side up, and brush with oil. Season lightly with salt, sprinkle with the herbs, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Remove and let cool slightly. Dice the mushrooms and set aside.
  • 4. Preheat the broiler to medium.
  • 5. Put the cream in a large saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat. Add the Cheddar and Parmesan and half the Taleggio, and stir well to melt. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (If a thicker sauce is desired, add more cheese to taste.)
  • 6. Dump the drained macaroni into a large bowl. Stir in half the mushrooms and the hot cream sauce and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the macaroni mixture to a 2-quart casserole or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (be sure your baking dish is broilerproof; do not use a glass or ceramic dish). Top with the remaining mushrooms and Taleggio and a good grinding of black pepper. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is golden. Serve immediately.

**I made this is a large cast iron skillet. I poured just enough peanut oil to coat the bottom and prepared exactly as the directions suggest.  It was so good, so pretty, and SO easy to clean up!**

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