This Baked Mushroom Marsala was a huge hit in our house and it will be made over and over again. Yes, it’s a casserole, but not in the canned soup kind of way. It combines the traditional rich Marsala mushroom sauce, al dente pasta, mozzarella, and a crunchy parmesan and panko topping. It even stayed creamy when we reheated the leftovers!
Servings: 4 really generous or 6 slightly more moderate ones
To serve a crowd: Double it in a 9×13-inch or lasagna pan
1/2 pound (8 ounces or 225 grams) pasta of you choice (I used Gemelli)
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 ounces (454 grams) fresh mushroom, sliced (I used Baby Bellas. Crimini would also work well.)
1 small-to-medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine (It’s not absolutely necessary, but I highly recommend it. Marsala is super cheap, too!)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups stock or broth (chicken, vegetable or mushroom…I used vegetable broth.)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
4 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes before perfect doneness. Drain and set aside.
Heat oven: To 400 degrees.
Make the sauce: Add oil to a large skillet over high heat. Once it is hot, add mushrooms and cook until they’ve begun to brown and glisten, but have not yet released their liquid. Reduce heat to medium-high, add onions, salt and pepper and saute together until the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until it has almost or fully evaporated. Add butter, stir until melted. Add flour, and stir until all has been dampened and absorbed. Add broth, a very small splash at a time, stirring the whole time with a spoon. Make sure each splash has been fully mixed into the butter/flour/mushroom mixture, scraping from the bottom of the pan and all around, before adding the next splash. Repeat until all stock has been added. Let mixture simmer together for 2 minutes, stirring frequently; the sauce will thicken. Remove pan from heat.
Assemble and bake dish: Add the cooked pasta into the mushroom mixture and combine. Stir in half the parmesan, all of the mozzarella and two tablespoons of the parsley until evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a 3-4 quart greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan and panko. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until edges of pasta are golden brown and irresistible. Sprinkle with reserved parsley and serve hot. Reheat as needed.
Recipe adapted from: Smitten Kitchen