Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

So asparagus and I are BFFs right now.  I can’t stop buying it – maybe a little excessively so.  When I was at the grocery store this week, the cashier actually stopped to ask me what I was planning to make with all of the asparagus I had piled in my cart.  I politely smiled and answered but really in my head it went something like, why are you questioning my asparagus???  And then two seconds later … hmm maybe it is a little much???  And then stop it, why on earth do you care that the cashier is asking about your excessive asparagus buying???

Because the butcher and I have regular weekly conversations about my cooking plans (and his too), so this is really nothing out of the ordinary.  Apparently I am just very defensive about my asparagus.  Hmpf.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

But it is just so good.  Such as when it is in a creamy cheesy pasta bake with plenty of mushrooms?  With a panko / parmesan topping that gets nice and crispy in the oven?  You betcha.

I’m in that weird phase right now where the weather is starting to get a little bit warmer so I am craving spring vegetables and the like … but I’m also not ready to give up on comfort foods.  Hence this pasta dish.  Combines everything in one.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  But no chicken.  Just veggies.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

I hope that all made sense.  It’s Friday and my concentration is long gone and I’m having trouble forming coherent sentences.

So tell me … weekend plans?  Anything fun lined up?  Whatcha got for me?

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta
 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients
For the pasta:
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta shape (I used shells)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded and divided
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic to a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the oven and add the veggies to a large bowl. Set aside the baking dish for later. Maintain the oven temperature at 400.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (you want it to be al dente) according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain and add the pasta to the large bowl with the veggies. Add in the diced tomatoes and set aside.
  4. To make the sauce - in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted add in the flour, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until golden brown and nutty in fragrance. Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Let the mixture come to a simmer, still whisking fairly frequently, and cook until it thickens up a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes after simmering. Remove from the heat and add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and parmesan. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce into the large bowl and then add in half of the shredded provolone cheese. Mix until well combined, adding in a little of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta up (I didn’t need any). Season with salt / pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish you used for the veggies. Top with the remaining provolone. In a small bowl, mix together the panko and parmesan and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is golden and bubbly.

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Haha, love the conversations you have with your butcher and cashier :) Our cashier always asks me what I’m making whenever I buy tropical or asian produce hehe. I love love love asparagus and this pasta bake with mushrooms, panko and provolone sounds incredible!

  2. says

    I also love asparagus – I usually roast them but I also like to use them in stir-frys. You are making me think of ways to be more creative with it..though I have been stopping myself from buying it lately. What’s up with that? : ) I totally agree this is a weird time…want to eat fresh vegetables but still needing warmth and hearty fare. Your pasta is perfectly suited to that!

  3. says

    No fun weekend plans here. But I had the same conversation tonight with the cashier who pretty much questioned why I bought every item in my cart. And yes, I bought a few bunches of asparagus. It is too delicious to resist!

    • Ashley says

      haha I think my lady was pretty much just trying to make conversation but of course I’m the type to get defensive about it! : )

  4. says

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to go get me some asparagus so I can make this for my family! I just found your website through instagram, and I am so glad I did! Your blog is beautiful, the food photos are stunning, and the recipes sound oh-so-delicious! I plan on being a regular from now on. :)

  5. says

    Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies when spring finally arrives. Though its VERY slowly arriving, I can get behind this dish right this minute! This pasta needs to be my dinner next week for sure. 😀

  6. says

    Delicious. It’s finally time to eat copious amounts of asparagus! Yay! This pasta look so good. Totally satisfying on one of these in-between winter and spring nights.

  7. says

    You fight for that asparagus, Ashley! Haha. I love it when different vegetables start to come into season, and I love what you’ve done here. Baked pastas are always an easy meal to throw together and so hearty and warming. Have a great weekend!

  8. says

    I’ve been on a huge asparagus tear lately, and when I make it I end up eating all of it! I add it to my salads or fresh out of the roasting pan…asparagus is mine all mine. :) This pasta looks great, and it does not need chicken with all that good stuff going on. I don’t like feeling judged by supermarket checkers…or am I just defensive too? Maybe. Have a nice weekend, Ashley! :)

  9. Jo @ the contented baker says

    Such a lovely supper Ashley! So nice to include asparagus – I’m a fan too!! Have a great weekend :-)

  10. says

    I’ve been buying asparagus as crazy lately too. So much that I had to send my mum to the store the last three times because I was scared that the cashiers would judge tool. I mean, I know they do – I’m the girl who made the store run out of dates and bought like a kilo of asparagus. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I just love them so so so much!
    This pasta dish is rigt up my alley. Oh girl, it sounds like a dinner I’d love to have soon.
    Happy Friday & I hope you enjoy your weekend! ((I know you’ll do, because how could you not have fun with a house full of asparagus?!? 😉 )) xx

  11. says

    This week, I got my first asparagus of the season, Ashley, and it tasted divine! What is it about it that’s so appealing? For me, I think it might be the texture … hmm, anyway, perfect pasta dish for spring!

  12. Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe says

    I totally feel the same: I’m getting all excited about spring vegetables but I’m not completely ready to let go on comfort foods…so you can bet this amazing pasta bake will be made asap in my home! You came up with the best solution!

    xo, Elisa

  13. says

    Haha your supermarket conversation has me cracking up! I’m so jealous – the cost here for asparagus is $20 US for a bunch – it’s ridiculous. I don’t think it’s too much at all :) and I think the lady wanted whatever you were making – and clearly you were making a feast because this looks delicious! Perfect creamy meal for the weekend. Speaking of which, have a great one :).

  14. says

    Asparagus is one of my all-time favorite spring veggies. Works so well dressed lightly with lemon vinaigrette, or in something a little heartier like this pasta dish. I can imagine that the mix of textures makes this dish really fun to eat: crunchy panko, soft pasta, and chewier asparagus. Yum!

    And I was chuckling about your defensive asparagus buying. Sometimes I get the side-eye when stocking up on baking supplies. I can just imagine other shoppers looking at my cart and thinking “what is that lady doing with so many bags of sugar/pounds of butter/coconut/chocolate chips/cartons of eggs? Why isn’t she buying any REAL food?”

    • Ashley says

      haha I love it. I’ve done that before too – so many baking supplies and I always wonder what they are thinking!

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