Baked Penne and Cheese with Mushrooms

I love homemade macaroni and cheese  (or, in this case, penne and cheese) and wasn’t about to let a sprained wrist get in the way. Pre-chopped onions and mushrooms, pre-shredded cheese, and a garlic press meant I could make this without picking up a knife. A speedy sprinkling of toasted wheat germ takes the place of bread crumbs. You can use any vegetables and any blend of cheese you like–experiment to change up the flavor!

6 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1 (8-ounce) container sliced button or cremini mushrooms
Sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or any blend you like)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and return pasta to the pan you used to cook it. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add onion, and sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Saute 5 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid and are slightly browned. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add butter; cook until melted. Whisk in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk; cook 1 minute or until thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cheese, whisking until the cheese melts. Whisk in nutmeg, cayenne and pepper. Add cheese and mushrooms to cooked pasta, stirring to combine thoroughly.

Scrape pasta into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with wheat germ. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 4


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How to Plan, Prep, and Cook Easy Weeknight Meals (without spending hours in the kitchen)

3 steps to making simple, nourishing meals possible night after night so you spend less, enjoy more, and have time and energy to live a richer, more delicious life.

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!


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