This Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta is utterly delicious and comfort dish which is almost committing a crime.
Committing a Crime
Why crime, you may kindly ask.
While the millions of people are having their after-Christmas detox days and diets and consuming tons of celery, spinach, and oats; and while the others refrain from having sugars, fats, or carbs, posting this Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta isn’t the nicest thing to do, I believe.
Where’s your sense of consideration, Ben? Why aren’t you posting healthy salads?
And I promise you’ll see a lot of other good healthy things shortly. But I just cannot hide from you this sumptuous Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta. THAT would be a felony.
Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta
Just imagine that. Sauteed mushrooms and leeks mixed with ham, herbs, and smoked paprika. Then this fantastic filling gets into the pasta and finally basically submerged into gooey cheesy deliciousness and baked to the perfection!
Wow. I almost fainted while writing this. And you? Ouch, I didn’t mention this Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta is also generously sprinkled with extra smoked cheddar for that irresistible bubbly crisp.
Talking about the sauce, there’s one thing. I don’t like a classic white sauce due to using flour. When a recipe calls for this one, I always make a variation made of milk, cream, butter, and a lot of cream cheese. Yes, cream cheese is the secret ingredient here. I won’t lie (And you won’t believe) – this sauce isn’t skinny. It’s pretty much fattening. But you know what? When it comes to a pasta (Rich and splendid versions), you shouldn’t think much of these calories and fats. Don’t ruin your pleasure.
Of course, you can make a lighter version by cutting down on some things like butter or cream (Just fully substitute for milk), but please don’t do this with cheese.
I made this Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta at the beginning of January on Andrey’s birthday, and we all did like the dish a lot.
So I’m strongly recommending to take a break in your dieting and make this Mushroom Ham Stuffed Baked Pasta. And if you’re celebrating your birthday soon, this should definitely be a must.
Do you like stuffed baked pasta? What’s your favorite stuffing?
about 25-30 large pasta shells (grab a few extra in case some of them are broken while cooking)
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms (about 3-4 large portobello or 15 button mushrooms)
1 leek, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1,5 cups cooked ham, finely cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 large sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
black pepper and salt, to taste
3 tablespoons cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter
2,5 cups milk
1/2 cup 10% cream
1 cup cream cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
ground nutmeg, to taste
few fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 - 1,5 cups shredded smoked cheddar
In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the pasta as recommended on the package - that should be about 2 minutes less than up to "al dente", around 8-10 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse under running cold water to stop process of cooking.
In a meanwhile, in a pan melt the butter with olive oil and cook the leek and garlic, few minutes until soften.
Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat around 10 minutes until they start to golden.
Stir in the ham, herbs and seasonings. Cook another 4-5 minutes.
Off heat and let a little cool. Incorporate 3 tablespoons of cream cheese just to make the mixture gooey.
While the shells and stuffing are being cooked, make the sauce. In a saucepan melt the butter.
Add the milk, cream, sage, and spices. Cook, stirring with a whisk for a few minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and continue cooking for a few minutes until all ingredients are combined. Off heat.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Take one large or few smaller baking dishes.
Spoon out some cheese sauce on the bottom of dish. Take one pasta shell and stuff with some filling then place into the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining pasta always grabbing the perfectly looking shells first and leaving out the broken in case you won't have enough stuffing.
Generously cover the shells with the sauce. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cheddar, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Increase the temperature and bake the pasta under the grill for a few minutes until bubbly and golden.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.