When serving a large crowd on a special occasion, I recommend making at least one casserole-style dish that can be prepped in advance and baked while the party gets going. Lasagna and macaroni and cheese are great ideas, but if you want something a little more unexpected, make the Barefoot Contessa's Conchiglie al Forno, or baked pasta shells with mushrooms and radicchio. It's a rich, hearty, and wintry dish that's flavored with cream, four types of cheese, and fresh sage. If you don't normally use radicchio as an ingredient, this recipe is perfect for a first-time experimentation. The salty cheese and woodsy sage offset the bitterness of the purple chicory. Ready for the excellent recipe? Keep reading.
From Ina Garten Ingredients 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed Directions Serves 8-10.
Conchiglie al Forno With Mushrooms and Radicchio
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (2 medium heads) finely shredded radicchio
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely shredded fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola (3 ounces)
2 teaspoons ricotta
6 leaves fresh sage, chopped (see note)
1 pound imported conchiglie rigate (pasta shells)
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 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed.
From Ina Garten
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed