Main Courses

Three Cheese Mushroom Alfredo with Broccoli Rabe

For the entire time Ryan and I have been dating, I’ve always known “Ryan doesn’t like mushrooms”. Which was incredibly unfortunate because I love mushrooms. A year and a half into this whole relationship, Ryan comes to Colorado for Thanksgiving, and insists on bringing his family’s Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole. Ummmm what?! Hello! There are mushrooms in that dish! Turns out, this whole mushroom phobia is a textural thing, not a taste thing. As usual, a person doesn’t like something, it’s my mission to make them like it. 

Half the fun of being a chef is to introduce people to unfamiliar tastes and open their eyes to what they are missing in the food world. It really is such a fulfilling feeling for me. I like mushrooms in a lot of dishes because of their earthy taste and meaty texture. They are a quick substitute for a hearty vegetarian entree. The “creamy” part of this dish helped bring my mushroom-phobic into the mushroom eating hemisphere. Rich mascarpone is balanced with light ricotta, and the broccoli rabe adds a hint of bitterness and a bit of crunch. And who can say “no” to Parmesan and garlic?! I served this with a light green salad and a glass of white wine. 🙂 After completing Mission Impossible #1, the score is Jamie: 1 , Food Phobias: 0. 

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 30 minutes

1 lb box brown rice penne (or whole wheat pasta)
1- 8 oz container mixed wild mushrooms (porcini, portobello, etc)
1- 8 oz container white mushrooms, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 medium white onion, small dice
1/2 cup white wine
8 oz skim milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup vegetable stock (or mushroom stock)
1 cup pasta water (reserved during cooking)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed to just the florets

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cook the penne according to package directions for al dente texture.
  • While the water heats to a boil, saute the mushrooms, garlic, shallot, and onion in a large saute pan with 1 tbs of butter. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid and the onions begin to turn light brown.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon and add the ricotta, mascarpone, and vegetable stock. Cook until the cheese is all blended together, stirring throughout. Reduce the burner to low heat.
  • Add the pasta directly to the sauce using a slotted spoon. Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper.
  • Use a liquid measuring cup to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Adding this in the sauce versus regular water brings out the flavor of the pasta in any dish. Set the water aside for now.
  • Bring the pasta water back to a boil and add the broccoli rabe. Blanch for 2-3 minutes to remove excess bitterness, and run under cold water or put into ice water to stop cooking.
  • Add the broccoli rabe and Parmesan cheese to the pasta pot, stirring to incorporate everything. If the sauce needs more liquid, stir in the pasta water 1/4 cup at a time. I used 1/2 cup. If you are cooking and reheating the pasta, you’ll want the full cup.
  • Divide among four big bowls and serve immediately.
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