Crispy Baked Pasta with Shiitakes, Cabbage

Crispy Baked Pasta with Shiitakes, Cabbage

I collect Al Dente Pasta as one might collect baseball cards — only I get to eat my collection. I enjoy having different varieties and flavors to choose from on those evenings where I want to whip up a meal in less than 15 minutes — or more, as in the following recipe.

Of course I love this pasta because it’s locally made, but I’m pretty sure it would be a staple in my kitchen even if I lived in Oklahoma.

This month Al Dente celebrates its 30th birthday. In honor of Monique and Denny’s success, I whipped up a casserole I made frequently about 25 years ago. I lost the exact recipe, and I’m sure I used regular bread crumbs, as panko weren’t readily available.

Back then, Al Dente wasn’t making this pasta flavor, but it works well in the recipe, and the flavor conjures memories of the old Moosewood Cookbook style of eating.

Basically I boil the pasta until it’s just malleable, since it will continue baking in the oven. I toss it with oil and layer a medium-sized casserole with half the partially cooked pasta. Then I layer veggies and fresh mozzarella over the pasta, another layer of pasta and cheese, and then the toasted panko.

For added richness, I toss panko with grated Parmesan or Asiago (an optional step), then bake. The Al Dente Whole Wheat Pasta is flavored with roasted garlic, which permeates the casserole, so there is no need for additional seasoning aside red pepper for heat.

Last Friday I wrote about this being the month of The Back Alley Gourmet’s 30th birthday as well. I remember Monique and I going into the pasta business (back then Back Alley sold fresh pasta) the same month, the same year. Time certainly flies!

What will we be doing 30 years from today? If I live to that day — God willing, I’ll be turning 86 — I hope a collection of Al Dente will have a place of honor in my cupboard.

Happy 30th Birthday Al Dente Pasta!

Recipe: Crispy Baked Pasta with Shiitakes, Cabbage


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag Al Dente Whole Wheat Roasted Garlic Fettucine, with flax
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2-1 cup panko*
  • 3 1/2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, tough ends trimmed, wiped clean and sliced (2 cups)
  • 8 packed cups cabbage (any varietal) cut into strips (1 medium-sized head)
  • 1/2-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin, 1/4-inch, medallions; divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Reserve.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil and toast 1/2 cup panko, if using Parmesan or Asiago. Toast 1 cup of panko, if not using grated cheese. Toast panko (without cheese!), stirring, until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside. If using Parmesan or Asiago, toss panko with grated cheese when panko cools down so the cheese doesn’t melt.
  4. In same pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook cabbage, with a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, over medium-high heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook an additional 30 seconds-1 minute, stirring. Season to taste with additional salt and red pepper flakes, if desired.
  5. To assemble, in a greased, medium-sized casserole (I used a 12x8x2-inch dish), layer half (approx. 3 cups) pasta. Arrange 1/2 mozzarella over pasta then spread sautéed cabbage and mushrooms over cheese. Top with remaining pasta, arrange remaining mozzeralla over pasta then evenly spread toasted panko or panko-cheese mixture over mozzarelle.
  6. Bake on center rack of oven 20 minutes. Check and if crust is sufficiently browned, cover with foil and cook the remaining 15-20 minutes or until mozzarella is melted in the center layer. Let sit at room temperature 10-15 mintues for flavors to combine, then serve.

*If using Parmesan or Asiago, you’ll only need 1/2 cup panko

Active Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: approx. 35-40 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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