This past Saturday, we had L’s eldest sister and her 2 year old son over for dinner. The goal was to make something that her vegetarian sister, the picky toddler, and the Cooper Wives could enjoy. While the nephew did not end up eating anything besides the dark chocolate covered almonds we set out, we were extremely satisfied with our results. L created an incredible mac and cheese inspired dish. As always, she took it to the next level. Mushrooms, quinoa pagodas, goat cheese, a cracker crumb topping, pesto… more please!
- 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa Supergrain Pasta Garden Pagodas, cooked al dente
- 16 ounces (by weight) crimini mushrooms (AKA baby bellas), quartered
- 8 ounces (by weight) shiitake mushrooms, quartered
- olive oil, for roasting mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons gluten free flour blend
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- a dash of nutmeg
- smoked maldon salt, to taste
- 1 pint (2 cups) local goat milk
- 6 ounces aged goat cheese, cubed or shredded
- 6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), crumbled
- 1/3 cup homemade pesto (store bought works, too)
- gluten free crackers (we didn’t count out the crackers, but we would venture to say roughly 20)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 450*F/232*C. Lightly coat a sheet pan with olive oil. Pour your mushrooms onto the sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked salt & cracked black pepper, and toss to coat. Spread mushrooms out in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside for later.
2. Now it’s time to make the cracker crumb topping. Pulse crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a bowl and reserve for assembly.
3. Now to make the béchamel. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Add in diced onions and sauté until translucent. Toss in the minced garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine. Continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the goat milk, throw in the mustard powder, white pepper, nutmeg, and whisk to fully combine. Over medium-low heat, allow the mixture to simmer until thickened. Dump in all of the goat cheese and allow to melt into the béchamel. Stir in the pesto and remove from the heat.Season, to taste, with smoked maldon salt. Carefully fold in the cooked pasta and mushrooms.
4. Preheat oven to 350*F/176*C. Butter a 2 quart (7″x11″) baking dish. Scoop all the ooey gooey deliciousness from the pan into the baking dish. Mix the cracker crumbs with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle on top of the mac. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the cracker crumb topping is golden. Divide amongst the ones you love and conquer.