Saturday, March 12, 2011


Toronto this week has been non-stop rain, and with such bone chilling coldness I wanted to make something last night that would warm me right up, some real good homestyle comfort food. Of course for this I turned to Jamie's Italian cookbook (by Jamie Oliver). My friend Kate was coming for dinner and we wanted something, easy, warming and delicious, and Jamie O is our fav!

The dish I ended up creating was more so inspired by this recipe than Jamie than followed word for word. The dish is called spaghetti tetrazzini (a chicken and mushroom pasta bake). I'm not really a fan of chicken in pasta, so I took that right out and instead of using basil like Jamie does I substituted in rosemary as I think it is a perfect marriage with woody mushrooms. I also for the first time bought porcini mushrooms and they were so great! Porcini's come dry so you need to rehydrate them, but the flavour that the water takes on after the re-hydration is so strong and perfect for making a sauce!

Here is my recipe of the dish, based off of Jamie's original recipe! In this recipe you will see that I infuse my cream with garlic and rosemary. Since starting chef school I find we are always infusing our liquids and it really makes such a difference in the end result. More flavour developments, but not necessarily as harsh!

Mushroom & Rosemary Pasta Bake
Serves 4
Total time: 1 hour

- 1 handful of dried porcini mushrooms
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic (2 cloves should be pureed)
- 2 handfuls of mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 of a small white onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 box dried spaghetti
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- Boil water for pasta on high heat and cook pasta in salted water once water is boiled.
- In a kettle boil about a cup of water for the porcini mushrooms. Once water is boiled place mushrooms in a bowl, pour water over, cover and let sit for about 20 minutes. Do not throw out the water! Reserve for later!!
- In a sauce pot put in cream with a peeled garlic clove cut in half and a sprig of rosemary. Keep on low temperature until ready to use.

- Slice mushrooms, and dice onion.
- In a large enough pan to fit all the liquid and vegetables soften onion in a little bit of butter and olive oil.
- Once translucent add in the mushrooms and porcini mushrooms.
- Add in the pureed garlic (for this I usually just use a microplane, works really well to get that pureed consistency)
- Cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic until softened. Then add in about one sprig of chopped rosemary and let cook for a few more minutes. 
- Add in the white wine and cook for about 5 minutes until the alcohol has burned off. Then add about half of the reserved porcini water and cook for 3 more minutes. Finally add all of the cream to the saucepan and let the flavours blend together.

- When the pasta is cooked add the pasta to the sauce with half of the grated parmesan and mix. Dont' forget to season with salt and pepper!

- Transfer the spaghetti into an ovenproof baking dish (I buttered mine so that it wouldn't stick). Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top of the pasta and bake until crispy and golden brown. About 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on it!

Before baking
After baking


photo credit: my own


  1. In the words of my least favourite culinary personality, Rachael Ray: "YUMMO!".

  2. I agree, I don't like chicken in there either and I have rosemary and not basil so I made your version! Will let you know how it turns out :) I think the mushrooms really needed seasoning during cooking and possibly some chilli flakes might have gone down well too.

  3. Hmm, it was nice but I needed to season mine more at all stages like Jamie does :-) As my boyfriend said, you can't go wrong with mushrooms and cream!