Monday, November 13, 2017

Cheesy Spaetzle and Mushroom Bake

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It's been such an unusually warm autumn in New York that I almost didn't notice that somebody pulled the winter switch somewhere. I stepped out the other day to walk my dog, wearing the light jacket that's been my staple this past month, and suddenly had to run back upstairs to grab a winter coat, gloves and scarf. Going from 70 degrees down to 20 is just not right, Mother Nature.


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OK, OK, it's November, I get it. Bring on the cozy throw blanket, Netflix binges and comfort food. Not that this is a such a bad thing. I was torn between a mac and cheese or something with a little more bite using my favorite Pecorino Romano. Note that not all romanos are the same. I buy the authentic Pecorino Romano PDO and it's easy to tell because it has the full name on the rind. It's a sharp, salty cheese that melts beautifully and is perfect for sauces. So, Pecorino Romano it will be. Now for the type of noodle.

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When I think about comfort noodles I think about my grandmother's spaetzle. It's just another word for a homemade pasta that's roughly shaped and needs no pasta making skills to create. Comfort food shouldn't be hard to make, you know. There are actually spaetzle makers you can buy but, grandma used a slotted spoon and that woman knew how to make a noodle.

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I made a cheesy bechamel using the Pecorino Romano and mushrooms. They add a rich, earthy flavor to the source and totally worth the little bit of extra time to cook them. This dish, for all it's comfort food goodness, is actually lovely enough to serve to company and definitely a special holiday season treat. Enjoy!

Cheesy Spaetzle and Mushroom Bake
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by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ingredients (4 Servings)
    Noodles:
    • 1 Cup all purpose flour
    • 1 Teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1/4 Cup whole milk
    Sauce:
    • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    • 8 oz. White or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 Cups whole milk
    • 1 Cup grated Pecorino Romano PDO
    • 1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    Instructions
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    Make the noodles by combining the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and milk. Using a fork, whisk together the egg and milk and slowly begin whisking in the flour until you have a dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

    To make the sauce, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the mushrooms to a large saute pan and cook on medium heat until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown.

    Remove the mushrooms to a separate plate and add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Whisk in the flour until all the granules are coated in the butter and slowly whisk in the milk. Stir in the cheese and continue cooking until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the mushrooms and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

    While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use a tablespoon to push the spaetzle dough through a slotted spoon into the water. The shapes will be irregular. Cook for a few minutes until the noodles float and then drain them in a colander.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the noodles to the mushroom cheese sauce and pour into one large baking dish or 4 individual baking dishes. Top with some additional grated Pecorino Romano and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

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    This recipe is sponsored by Uncommon Flavors of Europe. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

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