Conchiglie Al Forno With Mushrooms And Radicchio (Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer)
Copyright 2010, Johanne Killeen, All Rights Reserved
Photo: Maura McEvoy
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (2 medium heads) finely shredded radicchio
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 ½ ounces)
½ cup coarsely shredded fontina (1 ½ ounces)
½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola (3 ounces)
2 teaspoons ricotta
6 leaves fresh sage, chopped (see note)
1 pound imported conchiglie rigate (pasta shells)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and reserve for another use. Slice the mushroom caps about ¼ inch thick. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet; add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, radicchio, cream, cheeses, sage, and remaining salt.
Parboil the pasta shells for 4 minutes; drain and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
Divide the pasta mixture among 6 to 8 individual, shallow, ceramic gratin dishes (1 ½ - to 2 cup capacity). Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Note: In the absence of fresh sage, do not substitute dried. As a substitute, choose one of the following: 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon OR 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves OR 8 leaves fresh rosemary OR ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
Note: You may garnish with fresh Italian parsley, but do not cook the parsley in the pasta.