September is national mushroom month! Oyster, shiitake, baby bella, and white button mushrooms make this dish a mushroom lover’s dream! Seems about time we posted a recipe with mushrooms since we only have a few days left to celebrate, am I right? I apologize for waiting until the last minute, but I definitely think you’ll love this Mushroom Penne with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce recipe!
We couldn’t resist using all our favorite variety of mushrooms as we worked on this recipe in preparation for national mushroom month. It’s too hard to choose just one. I mean, look at them. I especially like the textures of the oyster and shiitake mushrooms but couldn’t resist the classic button and baby bellas either. When you make this yourself, you can use whatever combination of mushrooms you like best. There’s no way to go wrong here.
To prepare the mushrooms for this recipe, we recommend doing them in smaller batches in order to get them to brown. Browning mushrooms requires some patience and time, which we don’t always have. Of course you can crowd the mushrooms and get them to cook more quickly and they’ll still taste great. But if you have the time, we suggest giving the mushrooms space in the pan and cooking on medium heat so mushrooms have a chance to brown.
Along with the gorgeous mushrooms, the other star of this recipe is the cauliflower. I’ve loved the classic cauliflower and cheese combination since I was a little girl. Cheesy cauliflower is so much easier to convince a child or a grown up to eat. This sauce is a great example of how the 2 ingredients work so well together. Because the amount cauliflower is a lot larger than the amount of cheese, we can call this a healthy meal and feel great about eating it, yes? I definitely think yes.
I know you’ll appreciate how the mushrooms and the cauliflower cheese sauce come together with the whole wheat pasta and chicken. You’ll feel proud of this unique spin on pasta sauce that feels lighter, healthier and the perfect excuse to eat a ton of mushrooms. I hope you love it as much as we do!
- 3-4 large chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¾ cups milk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 24 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced (we used combination of button, baby bella, oyster, and shiitake)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 lb. penne pasta (we used whole wheat)
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- parmesan cheese, for topping
- Grill the chicken breasts and remove from the heat. Cover to keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Then strain and return to pot. Cover to keep warm.
- Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 5 minutes and then strain. While the cauliflower is boiling, use a small pan to melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the garlic.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked cauliflower, garlic, chicken broth, milk, olive oil, and salt. Blend until very smooth. (if your food processor is on the small side, definitely do this in batches). Add more salt if needed.
- Now saute the mushrooms using a large pan and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. You'll need to do this in batches over medium heat. Place the cooked mushrooms in a bowl as you finish each batch. After cooking all the mushrooms, stir in the chopped thyme into the bowl of mushrooms.
- In the large pot with the pasta, add the the cauliflower sauce, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese. Allow to warm over medium heat until the cheese has completely melted and everything is warmed through.
- Serve the pasta with slices of chicken and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.