Last night I made this delicious, hearty baked pasta dish. The porcinis and their soaking liquid add a nice richness. Don't worry about the half and half; it doesn't make it creamy, just kind of holds it all together.
Baked Rigatoni with Sausage and Mushrooms
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1¼ lbs. hot Italian sausages, casings removed (I used chicken sausages.)
1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup canned beef broth
1 cup half and half
1 lb. rigatoni
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
Rinse porcini mushrooms. Place in medium bowl. Add hot water, cover, and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Chop porcini.
Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add sausage; increase heat to high and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces with back of fork, about 12 minutes. (I had to add more oil, because chicken sausages don't have much fat to begin with.) Add button mushrooms and chopped rosemary and stir until mushrooms begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add porcini, wine, and bay leaf and boil until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Add beef broth and porcini soaking liquid (leaving sediment behind). Boil until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add half and half; boil until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Spray a 13x9" Pyrex baking dish with Pam. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add pasta to sauce in pot; stir to coat. Mix ¾ cup cheese into pot. Season pasta with salt and pepper. Pour into oiled baking dish.
Preheat oven to 375°. Cover dish with foil. Bake pasta just until hot but not bubbling, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve.
We devoured nearly the whole panful while watching "Moulin Rouge," starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, who can both sing quite well, surprisingly enough. This is an over-the-top musical extravaganza, with story lines from opera, dance numbers reminiscent of the Ziegfeld Follies, and modern songs like "Roxanne" and "Like a Virgin." It's completely fantastical and spectacular and great fun to watch—and then forget about entirely.
In other news, Nicole Kidman might just have regained her #1 spot in my heart after this; she and Annette Bening seem to trade places every time I see one of them.