In my house you get to choose what you want for your breakfast, lunch and dinner on your birthday, it is an only tradition that my parents started and we are continuing that tradition in my family. One of the things on the wish list for my husband’s birthday was mac and cheese for a side dish. I have made reduced fat mac and cheese before, but since it was my husband’s birthday I wanted to make it extra special. Chris loves mushrooms, so I thought what would be better then a cheesy mushroom sauce for this special birthday treat.
Mushroom and Herb Cheesy Pasta
250g (1/2 lb) pasta shapes
500g (1 lb) cremini (baby bella mushrooms), roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
235mL (1 c.) reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp. fresh basil, minced
1 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
2 Tbps cornflour
118mL (1/2 c.) skim milk
75g (1 c.) Gouda
100g (3.5 oz) low-fat soft cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
30g (1/2 c.) panko breadcrumbs
Grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente. Drain the pasta, return to the pot, and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the chopped mushrooms to a hot pan and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and almost all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. I have a heavy bottomed non-stick pan that does allow me to saute mushrooms without any added liquid. If you have a cheap pan you may need to add some oil. Stir in the garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, just until fragrant.
Whisk in the cornflour to the milk. Pour the milk into the pan with the mushrooms. Bring the heat back up to medium and stir until the mixture begins to thicken; about 7-9 minutes. Add the soft cheese and the Gouda, I reserved a small amount of Gouda to top the dish but this is optional. Mix well until the cheese is blended with the mushroom sauce.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Mix the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan cheese together and then crumble on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly. The last 5 minutes I added the remaining Gouda on the top and cooked until melted, I did this because I have had baked macaroni cheese before and it turned out too dry for my taste so I thought the added fat on top would help with this problem. However in the end I felt this was a wasted step as it was creamy enough on its own and will leave it out the next time I make this. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. I was able to serve 6 portions out of this and it came to 8 points per serving
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