Penne with portobello mushrooms Penne with portobello mushrooms

Inspired by the pasta with white sauce that accompanied my chicken lunch at La Maison, the discovery that La Maison’s pasta was made with portobello mushrooms came as a coincidence. I had never eaten portobello mushrooms before (it used to be hard to find them in local supermarkets) so when I saw trays and trays of the stuff at Shopwise, I bought a 220-gram pack. Six pieces in all. I minced three and mixed them with ground chicken to make burgers for last night’s dinner and, as I was eating my burger, the distinct flavor of the portobellos suddenly reminded me of the pasta at La Maison. Ergo, for lunch today, I boiled some penne and went about my attempt to recreate that wonderful creamy sauce that I enjoyed so much.

Serves 3.

120 g. of penne (or your pasta shape of choice), cooked al dente

To make the creamy portobello mushroom sauce

3 portobello mushrooms, about 100 grams
2 tbsps. of butter
2 tbsps. of olive oil
3 tbsps. of chopped basil
1 tbsp. of finely minced garlic
1 c. of cream
1/4 c. of milk
salt and pepper, to taste
4 tbsps. of grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more to garnish

Make the sauce as soon as you start cooking the pasta. You really want the sauce to sit for a while to allow the flavors to blend together.

Wipe the mushrooms with paper towels, cut each in half then slice — about 1/4-inch thick slices is good.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the basil and garlic and cook gently for about 30 seconds. Add the portobello mushrooms and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. Pour in the cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper. As soon as the mixture bubbles, turn off the heat. Stir in the cheese until it melts. Cover the pan and let the sauce sit there until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss to coast each noodle well. Ladle into bowls or plates, top with more grated cheese and enjoy!

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