Cheesy pasta shells with basil and mushrooms Cheesy pasta shells with basil and mushrooms Israeli Kitchen This outstanding pasta dish is packed with the flavor of fried onions and mushrooms, basil, and freshly ground black pepper. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Cheesy pasta shells with basil and mushrooms

This fabulous blend of mac and cheese and fresh garden vegetables is flavored with handy herb cubes.

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  • Yield: Serves 4-6
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes

You’ve seen gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese served a hundred different ways – well, here’s one more to change it up! This outstanding pasta dish is packed with the flavor of fried onions and mushrooms, basil and freshly ground black pepper. You can go heavy on the veggies, light on the cheese, and use whole wheat pasta to give yourself (and your guests) extra fiber.

Frozen basil cubes can be found in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stores, and are typically imported from Israel through the Dorot company. They’re super handy to keep in the freezer and they come pre-measured, so you can just pop a cube or two into your soup, pasta or salad when you want the taste of fresh basil. (They also make garlic, parsley and other herb cubes.)

If you’re really looking for a more elegant presentation, use oversized shells, fill with veggie mixture (defrost cubes and add with seasonings directly to veggies), sprinkle with cheese, and broil for several minutes.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pint colorful grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 frozen basil cubes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt and garlic powder, to taste

Directions

Spray bottom of medium-sized pot. Heat, and add onions and mushrooms.

Saute until onions are golden brown and soft. Remove and set aside, and fill pot 2/3 with water. Bring to a boil.

Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain, rinse and return to pot.

Add onions, mushrooms, cheese, basil cubes, milk and spices. Stir until cheese is melted. Add halved tomatoes and stir for 2-3 more minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

cheesy pasta shells with basil and mushroomsTake your mac and cheese up a notch. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Related Topics: Vegetarian

Recipes from the Israeli KitchenRecipes from the Israeli Kitchen
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