With the festive season upon us, now is the perfect moment to discover a straightforward, uncomplicated recipe that can satisfy the entire family. As out-of-town guests make their way for the holidays, stress levels may be on the rise with preparations like cleaning the house and setting up extra beds. Amidst the chaos, the thought of the main holiday meal tends to dominate. However, it’s essential to consider more than just one meal for your guests. Enter a delightful and easy-to-make spaghetti pie recipe dish that will surely please family and guests.
Even if you have family or friends who aren’t fond of mushrooms, this dish is a winner. Packed with three cheeses, fresh herbs, and pasta, it’s hard to resist giving it a try. This spaghetti pie recipe never fails to bring joy to my taste buds.
Christmas Eve involves an open house in my household, welcoming friends and family throughout the evening. This recipe is a lifesaver for such occasions. Starting the event at 4 pm, I bring out the pie around 4:30 pm, and it sits perfectly on the countertop, ready to be enjoyed throughout the night. Whether you prefer it hot or at room temperature, this pie caters to both options.
It’s worth noting that the recipe specifies wild mushrooms rather than button mushrooms. While button mushrooms can be substituted, it’s crucial to recognize the reasons behind this choice. Button mushrooms tend to have a higher moisture content, leading to a less firm consistency that won’t hold up when sliced into pie portions.
Here are some additional considerations for opting not to substitute button mushrooms in this recipe:
- Flavor: Wild mushrooms offer a more intense and earthy flavor than button mushrooms’ milder taste. If the recipe relies on the distinct flavor of wild mushrooms, using buttons may result in a less robust dish.
- Texture: Button mushrooms have a softer and more delicate texture than many wild varieties. If the original recipe calls for a firmer or chewier texture, button mushrooms may alter the intended result.
- Appearance: Wild mushrooms come in diverse shapes, sizes, and colors, enhancing the visual appeal of a dish. Button mushrooms, with their uniform appearance, might provide a different visual interest. If aesthetics matter, this substitution could impact the dish’s overall presentation.
- Moisture Content: Different mushrooms have varying moisture levels. Some wild mushrooms have lower water content than button mushrooms. Adjustments in the cooking process may be necessary to account for the additional moisture released by button mushrooms, especially if the recipe was initially designed for drier wild mushrooms.
- Availability and Cost: Button mushrooms are more readily available and budget-friendly compared to their wild counterparts. If wild mushrooms are hard to find or too expensive, using button mushrooms becomes a practical alternative.
- Personal Preference: The choice between the button and wild mushrooms ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some may appreciate button mushrooms’ milder taste and softer texture, while others savor the unique flavors and textures offered by various wild mushroom varieties.
Spaghetti Pie with Wild Mushrooms and Spinach
- Unsalted butter softened, for brushing
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms such as cremini, porcini and stemmed shiitakes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups shredded Fontina cheese 10 ounces
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and brush the inside with butter. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until barely al dente; drain.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into the mushrooms and let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Add the spaghetti, mushroom mixture, 3 cheeses, sage, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes, until bubbling and the top is golden. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the ring, cut the pie into wedges and serve.
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