Penne with brie, mushrooms and arugulaPenne with brie, mushrooms and arugula presents an opportunity to serve some of the fine fungi grown right here in Essex County.

Pasta dish provides comforting warmth

With the cooler autumn weather upon us, it’s time to prepare some satisfying dinners that can fend off the chill, says Paolo Vasapolli, executive chef in Food Services.

He suggests a pasta dish that fortifies creamy brie with bracing dry vermouth: penne with brie, mushrooms and arugula.

“Besides the comforting texture of the cheese, you have the bite of the arugula and the meaty flavour of the mushrooms,” Vasapolli says. “Serve alongside a crisp salad and crusty bread and your family will thank you!”


  • 8 oz of penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp of good olive oil
  • 8 oz of mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup of dry vermouth
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz of brie cheese, rind removed and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 2 cups of baby arugula


  1. cook pasta according to the package directions
  2. reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot
  3. meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat
  4. add the mushrooms, onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. add the vermouth, salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes
  6. toss the pasta with the brie and the reserved cooking water until the pasta is coated. Stir in the mushroom mixture and arugula.