Pasta Gratins with Goat Cheese, Sage and Mushrooms

January 31st, 2008  | Category: Pasta, Vegetarian

Pasta Gratins with Goat Cheese, Sage and Mushrooms

I am known to eat a whole pot of pasta in one sitting (and a jar of Nutella if I feel festive, but that is not our topic today). What’s more unfortunate is once I made a fatal mistake of telling this to my mother.

Ever since that day, her first question on the phone is “What did you eat tonight?” – her voice fading close to the end of the sentence. I guess she is still scared to hear the answer… She has every right to. And let me tell you – this is not the first incident. Back in my high school days, on my way home from school, I would get off the school bus and pay a visit to the supermarket to buy a quart of chocolate ice cream every single day. I would sneak it to my room in my backpack and the whole thing would be gone before dinner. The next morning, the empty box would be hidden in my backpack on my way to school. On that traumatic day when my mom opened the bottom cabinet in my bedroom, the empty boxes that poured out in front of her were only the ones I forgot to sneak out…

Obviously, a long time has passed and I somehow got smarter acquired a more sensible diet. Do I eat a whole pot of pasta now and then? Sure! A jar of Nutella under an hour? Pfff! But do I tell mom about it? Hell, no!

What I’m trying to say is, I love pasta. But not so much the whole wheat version. So in order not to eat the whole pot, I am experimenting with the whole wheat version combined with lighter sauce alternatives. This past week, I came across a whole wheat pasta recipe that won me over.

Pasta Gratins with Goat Cheese, Sage and Mushrooms 2

And I almost ate the whole pot. I guess old habits die hard.


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living February 2007

2-4 servings


  • 9 oz whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 1+1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, plus 8 small leaves for garnish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 14 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Whisk milk, flour, chopped sage, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking often. Add cheese and cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough that whisk leaves a trail, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Lightly coat four 10-ounce gratin dishes with olive oil. Set on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  5. Toss mushrooms, pasta and cheese mixture in a large bowl. Divide among prepared dishes. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over each dish, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Garnish each gratin with two sage leaves.
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  1. 1 - Laily on January 31st, 2008

    Lol! Your post really made me smile. I still haven’t acquired the taste of whole-wheat pasta (ugh!)

    But yours does look good!

    Loved your pics!

  2. 2 - on January 31st, 2008

    Wow (mouth watering).

    You’re hilarious! Were you the kind of kid that could eat anything and not gain a pound?

    Just a few months back, I went through the wheat pastas and found the spaghetti to be a winner for my family. So now, we eat wheat spaghetti.

    What other crazy things did you do as a kid? (That you can write about.)

  3. 3 - amanda on January 31st, 2008

    Oh Cenk, your story made me smile! I did the same thing, except with peanut butter and the nasty junk food Cheeze-its. Ugh, I remember almost polishing off a box of those things in a week, and the box was huge. It’s funny to look back at our old patterns. Now, I try and stay away from those greasy crackers but every now and then, I find myself craving the fake cheddar crisps 🙂 Your dish looks really comforting and hearty. I made a dish like that but with ricotta cheese and it was really yummy.

  4. 4 - burcu on January 31st, 2008

    Cenk, I’m totally with you; I can definitely eat a jar of Nutelle or Cokokrem in an hour. I prefer it with a cup of strong coffee. mmmmmm

    Just like you, I’m also trying to warm up with whole wheat pasta. The recipe sounds great. I’ll sure try.

    ps: I love your new camera. Beautiful pictures.

  5. 5 - Helen on February 1st, 2008

    I completely understand where you are coming from! I too, can eat an abnormally large amount of pasta with no problem whatsoever. I too, used to have a regular habit of buying munchies on the way home from school to eat in secret. For me though, this was a large bar of chocolate, the milk kind, which I then proceeded to melt very slowly in a saucepan and then eat warm with a spoon! And you thought you had a problem….Great past a recipe. Personally, I love wholemeal pasta – great texture, can’t get enough!

  6. 6 - brilynn on February 1st, 2008

    I love the rich flavour of goat cheese, I could easily eat a whole pot of this!

  7. 7 - Cathryn on February 1st, 2008

    Mmmmmmm…that sounds (and looks) so good it’s making my stomach rumble!

  8. 8 - Hillary on February 1st, 2008

    I like the idea of a pasta gratin and these flavor combinations sound excellent. Nice work.

  9. 9 - Cynthia on February 1st, 2008

    That was so funny! I guess that old habits don’t die.

  10. 10 - Online Money on February 4th, 2008

    Thanks for sharing. Pictures are great 🙂

  11. 11 - Hande on February 4th, 2008

    Cenk, I so totally feel for you. Does one pot pasta mean a 500g package of dry pasta? Yes, I (at times) eat that much in one sitting as well. And my best friend and I had a special 3am-break-from studying ritual during our college days: a whole package of Ülker pötibör (that means petit beurre!) and a whole (big) glass of Sarelle (the turkish equivalent of Nutella in my days). And we were thin as sticks! I want to be young again. Thanks for making whole wheat pasta seem delicious!

  12. 12 - Maryann on February 4th, 2008

    Yes, I can see me eating a whole pot of this also 😉

  13. 13 - daniesza on February 6th, 2008

    i don’t know what i am going to grab for lunch today, but i do know what i am going to have for dinner, and probably a whole pot of it!
    thanks for real time solutions to pressing culinary questions!

  14. 14 - kate on February 6th, 2008

    the first thing to hit me in this post were the warm earthy colours of this wonderful pasta.

    If its this good i cant blame you for finish the whole thing at one time 😛

  15. 15 - maya on February 7th, 2008

    Been a big fan of your blog for a while now but this is the first time I’m commenting. Also the first time I’ve tried a recipe, and let me tell you Cenk, I’ll be trying some more!

    So I made this for dinner a couple nights ago (and am now eating leftovers for lunch), and man it’s good. I’m not big on mushrooms, so used roasted butternut squash instead. It’s really worth a try with the squash.

    my weakness – peanut butter out of a jar. Good lord that stuff’s dangerous.

  16. 16 - Zoe on February 8th, 2008

    This looks fantastic. I’m going to try it with Dreamfields pasta, which is low carb but really, really yummy.

  17. 17 - Terri on February 9th, 2008

    Wow!!! This looks amazing!!

    I’m a huge fan of your blog and your photos are amazing!!!


  18. 18 - Kaykat on February 11th, 2008

    Yum! Whole wheat fusilli rocks 🙂

    I really like the idea of adding mushrooms and walnuts to the white sauce – don’t think I’ve ever tried that.

  19. 19 - Maninas on February 18th, 2008

    mmmm love your pasta!

  20. 20 - Tartelette on February 20th, 2008

    You and I would fight over food at the dinner table: I surprise people by my ability to eat gigantic quantities of pasta and Nutella! THe gratin is delicious!

  21. 21 - elizabet on December 16th, 2008

    ? love pasta mmmmmm… ?lot of love pasta pasta pastaaaaaaaaaaaaa beatiful

  22. 22 - Cheese products on September 25th, 2009

    These pasta recipe is simple but yummy i love your pictures.

  23. 23 - ziege kaufen on April 2nd, 2010

    I really love goat cheese it is really delicous. Most of the time I eat it as a dessert or use it to make a salsa.

  24. 24 - Heidi on December 22nd, 2010

    I love your blog! It’s really great because I’m a native New Yorker living in Istanbul, and like you, I miss Istanbul when I’m in NY and NY when I’m here 🙂

    I have a question for this recipe. Is there any other cheese that would work? Would beyaz penir be good with this?

    The form asked for my website. We actually own a fitness company here in case you want to do some Pilates to work off the yummy recipes!


    ps, love love love Ciya too!

  25. 25 - Cenk on December 22nd, 2010

    Heidi – Thanks! Beyaz peynir wouldn’t melt the way goat cheese does, but it can be an alternative if you’re a fan. The only other cheese I can think of is Tulum. Also, thanks for the invite, but I have to think about it 🙂

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