It feels like the sun has taken leave of Cambridgeshire this week, we have had only rare glimpses of sunlight in between howling wind and vertical rain. So comfort food has been high on the priority list. A good pasta bake always seems to do the trick. Maybe it’s the carbs or maybe its the creaminess but a pasta bake always works well to lift the spirits. This creamy kale and mushroom pasta bake is no different, with lots of mushrooms, garlic and big chunky pasta in a creamy sauce, what’s not to love?
I’ve kept this pasta bake meat-free as we are doing well eating less meat and this is one of the veggie dishes I make that goes down really well with everyone. I used big fusilloni pasta that I found in the supermarket this week, I have a thing for unusual pasta and when I see something new or you know new to me, I can’t help but buy it! So big chunky pasta works well in this mushroom pasta bake, but regular penne or fusilli works great too. I have made this with whole wheat pasta too so go with whatever you have to hand.
Chestnut mushrooms work best for this pasta bake, they have just the right amount of earthy mushroom flavour. I used thyme and garlic for this bake, well, they are best friends with mushrooms. As happy as I would be to have an all mushroom pasta bake I needed some greens in this so kale fits the bill nicely. It’s a nice change from spinach but if you prefer spinach then that works great too, you may need to up the quantity though. I used curly kale, shredded with the woody stalks removed. If you’re worried the kids may not like the kale in this don’t be, my kiddo loved it.
The sauce for this pasta bake is a basic white sauce and I think that with the parmesan and breadcrumb topping it works perfectly. If you wanted to go the full hog on this bake then you could add some cheese to the sauce before you add it to the pasta, it’s up to you, it depends on how cheesy you want to be. Now, this pasta bake needs to be served straight away, it doesn’t keep well, the pasta will soak up that sauce. It does take a little longer to make than most of my recipes here so you may want to make it when you have more time, like the weekend. I serve this with a little bit of chopped parsley, but again that’s up to you.
Creamy Kale and Mushroom Pasta Bake
A creamy, garlicky kale and mushroom pasta bake. Perfect for a cosy winter dinner.
- 1 medium brown onion chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms wiped clean then sliced
- 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 100 g curly kale shredded, woody stems removed
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 350 g (dry weight) pasta I used fusilloni pasta
- 50 g breadcrumbs I used Panko breadcrumbs
- 40 g parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 tsp chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
For the sauce
- 50 g butter
- 50 g plain flour
- 450 ml milk
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 356F. I use a fan assisted electric oven, please adjust according to your own oven.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan, add the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the butter to the pan then stir in the mushrooms and the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juices.
Then add the garlic and the kale, stir well and cook until the kale wilts slightly, for about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet minus 5 minutes.
To make the sauce melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir well. Cook for two minutes then start adding the milk gradually, whisk in the milk. Keep whisking until you have a thick creamy sauce. Stir in the dijon mustard and the pepper, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
When the pasta is almost cooked drain it then add it to a large casserole dish. Stir in the mushroom and kale mixture then gently stir in the sauce.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan over the pasta then bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve straight away with chopped parsley if you wish.
*calories are per portion and are approximate.
More Easy Pasta Recipes:
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake
- Linguine with Prosciutto Peas and Lemon
- Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Tagliatelle
- Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
- Spaghetti with Kale, Mushrooms and Lentils
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