Cheese and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Fried chestnut mushrooms and penne pasta in a rich, cheese sauce with a crunchy herbed cheese and breadcrumb topping. I love cheesy pasta and mushrooms so this was perfect for me. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, broccoli would work well in this too.

Yield; Two servings Cook time; 40 minutes (including bake time)

For the cheese sauce you’ll need;

  1. A heaped teaspoon of plain flour
  2. A heaped teaspoon of vegan margarine (I used Vitalite)
  3. 300ml warm unsweetened soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  4. 55g/2oz grated vegan cheese (I used Tesco’s smoked free from, I highly recommend that)
  5. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast (buy online or in Holland and Barrett)
  6. Salt and black pepper to taste

For the rest of the dish you’ll need;

  1. 150g/2oz dried pasta
  2. 250g/9oz chestnut (aka cremini) mushrooms, sliced
  3. One teaspoon of oil
  4. Half a teaspoon of tarragon
  5. A pinch of salt and pepper
  6. An additional 40g/1.5oz grated vegan cheese to sprinkle over the top of the pasta
  7. Two tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  8. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  9. Half a teaspoon of mixed herbs/Italian seasoning

Method;

  • Start with the cheese sauce. Heat the vegan margarine in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Once the margarine has fully melted, add the flour and whisk continually for two minutes.
  • Slowly add the warm soy milk a little at a time, whisking constantly. (I just microwaved mine for a minute to heat it up.)
  • Once add the milk has been added, tip in the grated cheese and stir well to combine. When the cheese has fully melted (this may take a little while, but be patient, it’ll be worth it!) season with salt and black pepper. Set aside and work on the rest of the dish.
  • Next, preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
  • Boil your pasta as per the instructions on the packet, mine took ten minutes and this was enough time to cook the mushrooms while the pasta boiled.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the mushrooms for a few minutes, once they start releasing liquid season with tarragon, salt and pepper.
  • Once the pasta and mushrooms are cooked you’re ready to assemble the dish. Remove the pasta from the heat and drain before returning it to the saucepan you boiled it in. Pour over the cheese sauce you made earlier and tip in the fried mushrooms. Give everything a good mix before transferring to an oven safe dish.
  • In a small dish, mix together the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and mixed herbs/Italian seasoning. Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the cheesy mushroom pasta. Then, using a spoon, sprinkle the herbed breadcrumb mixture over the cheese.
  • Bake for twenty minutes. Once it’s cooked, leave to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Personally, I really love the Tesco smoked free from cheese. It’s not got that strong fake cheese flavour that some vegan cheeses have. It’s creamy, smooth and mellow with a beautiful smoked flavour. With the amount of vegan cheeses there are out there, you’re sure to find something you enjoy.

Bye for now 🙂

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