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Mushroom Mac & Cheese

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Mushroom Mac & Cheese

Inspired by a mushroom mac and cheese I had at a local restaurant, I came up with this recipe, which is now one of my favorites. I added pumpkin ale for fall flavor, and it turned out even better! —Laura Davis, Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Prep: 30 min. + standing Bake: 35 min. mushroom-mac-cheese.jpg

1  package (1 ounce) dried porcini mushrooms
1  cup boiling water
1  package (16 ounces) small pasta shells
6  tablespoons butter, cubed
1 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup pumpkin or amber ale
2  cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1  cup (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
2  teaspoons Taste of Home - Great Flavors Mushroom Stock Concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine dried mushrooms and boiling water; let stand 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are softened. Remove with a slotted spoon; rinse and finely chop. Discard liquid. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.
   Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add portobello mushrooms and shallot; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended; gradually stir in milk and beer. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cheeses, mushroom stock concentrate, salt and reserved mushrooms.
   Drain pasta; add to mushroom mixture and toss to combine. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 6 servings.