Crispy Baked Pasta With Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Pasta tossed in a mushroom cream sauce flavored with Italian sausage, all baked in a cast iron skillet with a crispy seasoned breadcrumb topping. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This recipe starts off with crumbled Italian sausage cooked down in a bit of butter. I sauté a few types of mushrooms in the rendered fat, then flavor them with shallots, garlic, and a little bit of soy sauce and lemon juice (this helps bring out their savoriness while also lightening them up). They get finished in a simple creamy sauce flavored with Parmesan cheese. Add some pasta, top it all of with crisp bread crumbs, bake it directly in the cast iron pan you cooked it in, and you've got yourself a one-skillet meal fit for normal everyday folks who perhaps might occasionally feel like kings.

Why this recipe works:

  • Cooking mushrooms in rendered sausage fat adds tons of flavor, boosted by a bit of soy sauce and lemon juice.
  • The pasta and creamy sauce bake in the same skillet the mushrooms were cooked in, making for easy serving and cleanup.