This recipe turned out to be really simple and quite tasty. I loved how the ricotta just melted into the hot noodles and the toasted breadcrumbs, while yielding way too much, provided quite a tasty little crunch on the top. You could easily play with the veggie combinations and even add some chicken or shrimp to the mix if you wanted to add some extra protein.
I served this alongside a grilled romaine salad. Yum and yum!
Mushroom Fusilli with Garlic Breadcrumbs
adapted from Rachael Ray magazine, August 2011
1 box fusili pasta
½ container ricotta cheese
2 T. evoo
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped basil
Salt and pepper
1 pkg. mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch squares
3/4 cup heavy cream
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the ricotta, adding the reserved cooking water to thin the consistency as desired.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 T. evoo over med-high heat; add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the basil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 T. evoo over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed for the first few minutes, until they have released all their liquid and are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Toss the pasta mixture with the mushroom cream sauce; stir in the remaining basil. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs before serving.