Baked rigatoni with creamy mushrooms and squash
. Difficulty: Medium
. Serves: 4 people
. Variety: Pasta
DescriptionThis is a luxurious dish for the calorie count, which is close to 500 because it includes a roux (with flour and fat) and mozzarella, says Manuali. The white sauce is a lower-calorie and lower-fat version of the classic besciamella. The combination of mushrooms and butternut squash is well suited for fall, but you can substitute other roasted vegetables according to the season.
Ingredients500 g (1 lb) mixed mushrooms (such as button, cremini, shiitake, oyster, chanterelle or porcini), thickly sliced (about 1.5 l/6 cups)
15 ml (1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) cubes (about 750 ml/3 cups)
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh thyme leaves
30 ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
45 ml (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
500 ml (2 cups) 1 per cent low-fat milk
250 ml (1 cup) low-sodium chicken broth
1 fresh bay leaf
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
500 g (1 lb) rigatoni
250 ml (1 cup) shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella
50 ml (1/4 cup) freshly grated Grana Padano
PreparationPreheat oven to 230 C (450 F) with two sheet pans on the top and bottom racks.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.
In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with 7 ml (1/2 tbsp) of the olive oil and season with salt. Spread on one of the preheated pans. Repeat with squash and remaining olive oil and season with salt and thyme. Spread on second sheet pan and roast both until browned and tender, stirring and switching pans from top to bottom halfway through cooking time, about 20 minutes in all.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to make a smooth paste. Let cook for 2 minutes to remove raw flour smell, then whisk in milk and chicken broth. Add bay leaf and nutmeg and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Add rigatoni to boiling water. When pasta is very al dente, several minutes shy of the package cooking time, drain and rinse. In a small bowl, toss mozzarella and Grana Padano together. In a large bowl, combine pasta, white sauce and roasted vegetables and season with salt. Toss to coat pasta with sauce.
Pour into a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) ceramic or glass baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbly on edges and top is browned, 15 to 17 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.