Almost a Martha Casserole


When we were kids we always used to play vet. I was the vet, and my sister Nina was the secretary. That’s what she wanted to be when she grew up. A few years ago my mom was moving and we stumbled across a recipe box filled with index cards. All of our stuffed animals names were alphabetized and behind each name were 3 index cards, white for check-up, red for emergency, blue for surgery. It was almost creepy how organized it was.

All of which to say it should come as no surprise that by the age of ten she was in love with everything Martha Stewart. She might have been Martha’s youngest ever subscriber, saving all her babysitting money every January to buy the magazine. So if my sister was 10, I was 6. And while Nina was trying to be Martha Stewart I was trying to be Nina, so Martha rubbed off on me as well.

I know Martha has had her weak moments, (my boyfriend, a former stock broker, and I have decided it’s just best for our relationship if we don’t talk about Martha) but I love her. I really do. Everything she makes I want to make. What, you might ask, would I do with a silk thread covered carrot? Well I’m not totally sure but I know I want to make one none the less, because Martha told me to. Along with silk covered carrots and fabric silhouette bunnies, she also had a feature on casseroles. So at 10 this morning I decided I needed one.

But I had nearly no ingredients and it is (surprise surprise) pouring rain in Vancouver so there was so improvisation. But it worked. It totally worked.

A good glug of Olive Oil

1 large Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, diced

half a pound of Mushrooms, (whatever you have kicking around or is at your local market. I used enoki and oyster but creminis, buttons, portobello, anything really would work here, except maybe shiitake?) cut them into slices.

2 cans of plum tomatos, look for the kind without citric acid added!

3 sprigs of Thyme, picked

1 lb Shell Pasta

100g Cheese, I had some asiago which is grated and some sliced cheddar that i just laid across the whole thing. But if you had provolone, or parm, or even goat cheese use it! Whatever you have kicking around I think is great!

Preheat oven to 375F

Get a big pot of water on the stove on high heat.

Get another pot on the stove on medium heat.

Add in that glug of oil and saute the onion until it starts to get soft and translucent. Add a good pinch of salt.

Add in the garlic, mushrooms, and thyme and stir until the garlic gets aromatic and mushrooms are soft.

Add in your tomatoes and a little more salt. It will look soupy.

But don’t worry, it will get beautiful and thick, see?

Get your pasta in your boiling water. Add a healthy pinch of salt. Simmer then for 2 minutes less then it says on on the package, you’ll be cooking it more in the oven!

Once the pasta is cooked and strained mix it with the sauce until it all combined.

Now pour the whole thing into a casserole dish

Sprinkle it with cheese. If you have sliced cheese layer it on.

Put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

 It will be bubbly and starting to get brown and your whole house will smell delicious.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes and then eat eat eat!!