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The Art of Cheese — Hen of the Woods and Green Chili Pasta with Aged Havarti

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  • Author: Chitra Agrawal


The chill of winter has set in, and there’s no better way to ease into the seasons than with a giant bowl of spicy and cheesy pasta.


  • 1 lb of whole wheat or regular penne
  • 25 ounces ounces favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces or 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, rinsed or 1 cup dried mushrooms (re-hydrating instructions below)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 Indian green chili peppers (or Serrano, jalapeño), minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Castello aged Havarti cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs for garnish (fresh oregano, basil, parsley) – optional


  1. If using dried mushrooms, place in bowl covered with warm water for 10-20 minutes or until soft. Saving the soaking liquid, rinse the soaked mushrooms so there is no grit on them. Strain the soaking liquid of grit using a fine sieve or paper coffee filter. You can chop them into bite-size pieces or leave them if they are on the smaller side.
  2. Boil penne according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. While penne is boiling, heat olive oil in a pan under medium-high heat. When hot add in chopped onion. Fry until translucent, few minutes. Add in the green chili and chopped garlic. Fry until fragrant, a few seconds. Add in the mushrooms and salt to taste and saute for a few minutes. Add in the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the mushroom broth*. Heat through and simmer for a few minutes. Add in the cheese and mix well until melted and the sauce thickens a little. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with herbs and serve over penne.


save the rest of the mushroom broth to use in soups or other sauces

  • Category: Main
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