A Daily Dinner: Penne with Brie, Mushrooms and Arugula

Hedgehog Mushrooms and Arugula

One of the great things about living in a city like New York is the sheer variety of cooking ingredients available.

I can’t recall how many times I’ve purchased something at the market just because it sounded “interesting,” even if I didn’t have a clue what it was or what to do with it.

The teeth on the underside of the cap of a hedgehog mushroom

This week, I was delighted when I came across hedgehog mushrooms, a small mushroom that resembles a chanterelle.

Hedgehog mushrooms are named appropriately; instead of gills on the underside of their cap, they have little “teeth” reminiscent of a hedgehog’s spikes. (They’re also sometimes called “belly-button mushrooms,” because of a slight depression in the cap.)

Ingredients for an easy pasta dinner of penne with Brie, Mushrooms, and Arugula

Not wanting to overpower this mild mushroom’s flavor, I sautéed them in dry vermouth with a red onion and then tossed with pasta, arugula and chunks of fresh brie.

This is a versatile dish that I’ve made many times with all sorts of vegetables and mushrooms, even white button mushrooms, so if you try it, you can throw in whatever you have or whatever sounds appealing.

A simple, fast winter meal of penne with brie, mushrooms and arugula

Penne With Brie, Mushrooms, and Arugula
Adapted from RealSimple.com

8 oz. penne
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms (Halved, if large.)
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 cup dry vermouth
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. brie, rind removed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 c. baby arugula

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add the vermouth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Toss the pasta with the brie and reserved cooking water until the pasta is coated. Stir in the mushroom mixture and arugula.

Slicing mushrooms for penne with brie, hedgehog mushrooms and arugula

The reserved pasta water and the brie form a delicious light sauce that coats the pasta, making every bite cheesy and decadent. The mushrooms and onions add a bit of heft and I love the way the arugula just wilts ever so slightly, still retaining its crunch and successfully tricking me into thinking I’m eating something healthy.

As far as we’re concerned, a bad pasta meal doesn’t exist, but this one falls into the “excellent” category. I wouldn’t hesitate serving piping hot bowls of this to dinner party guests this winter, alongside a glass of a bold red wine.

- Laura


  1. This Confetti Life
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 13:25:17

    This looks amaaaazing. Yum.


  2. Vanessa
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 13:50:56

    I adore mushrooms and will pretty much try any dish containing them. Brie sounds like a perfect compliment!


  3. Kate (Embarrassment of Riches)
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 13:54:14

    I went through a phase a few months ago when I was obsessed with mushrooms and would buy $15 worth at Eataly every few days. When I saw hedgehogs I jumped on them, but the night I made them I got sick (nausea/claminess). Even at the time I was certain it had NOTHING to do with the mushrooms, but it still cooled my mushroom fervor a bit.

    I did, however, just make a very similar dish to this one with chanterelles instead (it was really good!), so I think I’m coming back around to them :)


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 14:18:39

      Oh no, Kate, that sounds terrible! One time Ryan got very, very sick with a strange virus after eating at one of our most favorite restaurants here in the city. It too was unrelated to the restaurant, but he definitely couldn’t stomach the idea of going back there for awhile, haha!


  4. Claudia
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 17:22:18

    Ooo, this sounds delicious! I’ll add it to my list of dinners to make.


  5. jillian m. {coffee, light and sweet}
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 07:53:58

    Fresh brie and arugula in pasta? Done. Not only is brie one of my favorite cheeses, but I’ve been obsessed with all things green this winter (I guess that makes sense, considering a lot of them are in season at the moment). And I think your photos are just lovely.


  6. Sarah
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 18:46:25

    what lovely photos of such a simple and comforting looking meal. I absolutely love your blog (and life!).


  7. Ann
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 01:45:17

    Looks delicious! Must try this week.


  8. Tracy @ Daily Deal Blog
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 05:34:28

    Comfort food for sure. The consistency of your recipe looks just perfect. I need this recipe on my menu next month, and I cannot wait to try it.


  9. Kristi Murphy
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 12:43:35

    This sounds delicious and easy enough to make any night!


  10. 2peasandapot
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 19:43:40

    I think I’ll make this tom. Portale has a similar pasta. I think he uses goat cheese, but I’ve made it and this one looks superior. Great pics by the way.


  11. Penne with Brie, Mushrooms, + Arugula | Saucy Pants
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 09:05:23

    […] Penne with Brie, Mushrooms, + Arugula is made with hedgehog mushrooms.  Instead of gills under the cap, hedgehog mushrooms have teeth […]


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