Mushroom Pasta Bake
Using a variety of fresh and dried mushrooms combined with tasty artichoke hearts gives an exotic flavour to this tempting dish.
20 grams (3⁄4 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄3 cup red wine1 teaspoon dried sage
500 grams (1 lb) mixed fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 x 398 ml cans chopped tomatoes
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
400 grams (14 oz) large shells
398 ml can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1. Put the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water to cover and set aside to soak for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5–7 minutes, until the onions are soft and just starting to brown.
3. Drain the soaked mushrooms in a sieve set over a pitcher to catch the soaking liquid. Line the sieve with paper towel and strain the liquid to remove any grit. Add the liquid to the onions, along with the red wine and sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add the fresh and soaked mushrooms and stir for 3–4 minutes until the mushrooms start to give off their juice.
4. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the sugar and seasoning to taste. Cover and simmer for 12–15 minutes until the sauce thickens and the tomatoes start breaking down. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
5. While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water and cook for just 5 minutes until the pasta is just beginning to become tender (do not cook until tender).
6. Drain the pasta well, then stir it into the sauce along with the artichokes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Place the casserole dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes until the pasta is tender. Serve the bake straight from the dish.
Variations: Boost the fibre content by using whole wheat pasta shells. If you like, sprinkle the baked pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Per serving: 519 calories, 12.5 g fat (2 g saturated), 16 g protein, 76 g carbohydrate, 13 g fibre