Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pasta Vegetable Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

I love casseroles.  Seriously.  They are the easiest and most delicious things to make.  My mom really never made them when I was a kid, but I definitely foresee myself making them all the time.  In fact, at one point several months ago, the Hubby actually would groan and say "another casserole"?  The great thing about casseroles is that really you can make them into anything- cheesy, tomatoey, light, hearty, the list goes on and on.  Today was one of the times when I had to make lunch, rather than dinner for the hubby, which meant I had to hurry up.  After looking in the fridge to see what I had to work with, I found some leftover cooked pasta, tons of veggies and two pieces of homemade seitan, as well as a package of mushrooms that needed to be used up.  The perfect idea came to me: a casserole with pasta, lots of veggies, seitan and a creamy mushroom sauce. 

A few months ago, I made this dark hearty mushroom stock from an issue of Vegetarian Times and after some tweaking, was amazed at how completely flavorful it was and how amazing it made everything I put it in.  I made about 2 gallons of it, froze it all in quart containers and have been enjoying it for the past several months.  I knew there was one container left in the freezer, so I put it in a small saucepan and thawed it out.  Then I set about making the sauce, sauteing the veggies, tossing it all together and baking it - voila! an amazingly delicious and easy casserole! 

Pasta Vegetable Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

Casserole with Cabbage Tomato Salad

Serves 6-8

1 16 oz. pkg. pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 large pieces seitan, sauteed then chopped, about 2 cups

1 cups frozen peas, cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped, about 3/4 cup
1/2 large green pepper, chopped, about 3/4 cup
1/2 orange pepper, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 large red onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
2 carrots, peeled and shredded, about 3/4 cup
1 large jalapeno, minced, about 1/4 cup
1 large handful frozen spinach
Breadcrumbs, as needed

Mushroom Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 8 oz. package baby portabella mushrooms, rinsed, cut in half and sliced
1 medium onion, minced, about 1 1/2 cups
6 tablespoons unbleached flour
3 cups dark mushroom stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  In a large wok, add the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.  Add the remaining vegetables, except the frozen spinach and continue to cook, stirring frequently until crisp-tender.  Stir in the frozen spinach.  Turn off the heat and set aside.
2.  In the meantime, prepare the mushroom sauce.  In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute till lightly golden.  Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced in size.  Add the flour and stir to coat. 
3.  Using a whisk, whisk in the red wine and the mushroom stock.  Periodically whisk mixture, until very thick.  Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.  This will be very thick and salty, but we want this because it needs to season the entire casserole. 
4.  To prepare the casserole, place the pasta, seitan and green peas in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sauteed veggies and the mushroom sauce.  Stir together until everything is well coated.  Season to taste.
5.  Place this mixture in a lightly oiled 9x13" pan, using a spatula to flatten the top.  Top with desired amount of breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated all the way through.  The finished product should resemble the picture below.

Giant Casserole Dish Topped with Breadcrumbs

Cabbage Tomato Salad

Serves 4

1 small head cabbage, shredded, about 4 cups
1 roma tomato, small diced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and toss well to coat.  Season to taste.  For best flavor, allow flavors to marinate before serving.



No comments:

Post a Comment