Cold weather makes me crave baked casseroles like this one. Spinach, mushrooms and fusilli are enhanced with an herb and vegetable flavored white sauce and topped with crisp bread crumbs.
This makes enough for eight servings, so if you like you can divide this between two pans and freeze one for later.I’m sending this to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by the event’s creator, Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.
Creamy Baked Spinach and Mushroom Rotini
6 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, divided
1-1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used 1 pound cremini, 1/4 pound shiitake, and 1/4 pound oyster)
1 tablespoon dry vermouth or white wine (optional)
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup minced celery, about 1 stalk
1/2 cup minced carrot, about 1 carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
8 ounces fusilli or other small pasta shape
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2/3 cup bread crumbs, preferably panko crumbs
Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in a large skillet or a pot. Sauté mushrooms over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in vermouth or wine, if using, and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add another tablespoon of margarine and saute the onion, celery and carrot until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Turn heat down to low and add the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. When the margarine has melted, stir in the flour with a wire whisk. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to remove lumps. Turn the heat back up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast, salt, and oregano and remove the sauce from the heat.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch pan or two 8 x 8-inch ones. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to the mushrooms. Stir in the sauce and spinach. Spread the pasta in the pan(s) and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until hot in the center.