These giant pasta shells are filled with mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, and a creamy sauce, then topped with grated Parmesan. It's the perfect comfort food for cold days but also for a quick dinner fix if guests are coming by. It looks more elegant than regular pasta dishes but doesn't take more time to prepare. —MademoiselleGourmande
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: MademoiselleGourmande is a world traveler currently living in Frankfurt, Germany.
WHAT: A rich pasta dish that is much more impressive than it is difficult.
HOW: Nestle sautéed mushrooms brightened by garlic, chile, and lemon juice into jumbo pasta shells in an ovenproof pan. Pour a cream sauce and drizzle Parmesan over top, count down the minutes until "golden brown," then rejoice in creamy pasta goodness.
WHY WE LOVE IT: When this dish came out of Food52's test kitchen, it suddenly became finger food. That is to say that our team didn't waste any time finding a fork, and instead dove in, fingers first, to grab a jumbo shell. Things got messy, but we blame the recipe: The cheesy pasta shells, aromatic, earthy mushrooms, and creamy sauce were too good to resist. —The Editors
2 to 4
jumbo shell pasta
cultivated white mushrooms
parsley, or more as desired
plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
Cook the pasta according to the package, but reduce the cooking time by 1 minute so that they are al dente. Preheat the oven to 360º F (160º C).
Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms and peel the garlic and onion. Roughly chop the mushrooms and onions. Finely dice the garlic, parsley, and chile.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 of the onion, and the garlic. Fry for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, chile, and salt and pepper to taste. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add 1/2 of the lemon juice and the parsley. Add more lemon juice if preferred, or discard it (or save the rest for another recipe). Remove the mushroom mixture from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and add the other 1/2 of the onion. Fry for 1 minute. Pour in the cream, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir occasionally. Cook for 3 minutes. (If you used milk to dilute the cream, you might want to add a bit of flour or corn starch to make the sauce a bit thicker.)
Meanwhile, fill the al dente shells with the mushroom mix and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour the cream over the shells and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese turns golden brown. Serve with a few sprinkles of chopped parsley.