How To Cook Like An Italian Grandmother – Casserole Making With My MIL {Sponsored}

I officially have two children in school and am on a continued quest to become a better chef.  With an emphasis on quick and delicious crowd pleasing meals, I’m learning from the best cook that I have ever met in my entire life: my mother-in-law.  I am convinced that one of  her primary secret ingredients is love.  She takes pleasure in creating elaborate meals for her family to enjoy, and I’m determined to learn some of her great family recipes.  But right now, I’ve requested her expertise in guiding me through delicious meals that can be prepared in the midst of busy after school schedules.

Together we recently made a Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole.  It was awesome and easy!
the best casserole recipie Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole

I learn so much every time that I cook with my mother-in-law, and I always appreciate the stories about her own mother’s Sunday dinner table.

cook like an Italian Granny

We prepared our casserole with Country Crock Original Spread.  It has zero grams of trans fat, and 70 percent less fat than butter per serving.  It is also fee of partially hydrogenated oils and cholesterol.

mushroom and artichoke casserole


  • 2 tablespoons Country Crock Original Spread
  • 2 packages frozen artichoke hearts (thawed and chopped)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds penne
  • 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Country Crock Original Spread
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ground nutmeg


Melt Country Crock Original Spread in large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and mushrooms, sauteing until mushrooms release juice and begin to brown (approximately 6-8 minutes.  Add the artichokes and vermouth and stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed (approximately 10 minutes).   Add a bit of salt and pepper

Cook Penne al dente

In a large bowl, mix mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parsley, egg and 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese.

Bechamel Sauce Preparation

Melt Country Crock Original Spread in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and stir for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk, reduce heat and simmer until sauce lightly coats the spoon.  Stir occasionally (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in 1 1/2 cups Pecorino Romano.  Add a bit of salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

In a large casserole dish mix prepared ingredients and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.  Cover with foil.  Preheat oven to 350 F and bake casserole for 1 hour.  Remove foil and increase temperature to 450 F.  Continue to back for approximately 10 minutes.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



  1. This looks delicious!! I don’t believe you when you say you can’t cook 😉

    • Lisa – seriously I need all the help that I can get! I’m determined to learn some of the family recipes too. And I am always lusting over your creations!!

  2. Monica,

    It’s looks really yummy.Can’t wait it try this recipe.

  3. Isn’t being married to an Italian family awesome?!?!? I too have learned to cook authentic amazing meals!

    • Quyen – thanks so much for your visit. I’m half Italian and my knows a few of the old recipes from my dad’s side of the family. But my MIL is amazing!

  4. Oh this looks delicious!!! I am lusting over that kitchen!!!

  5. This looks so good! I will have to try it. Found your blog through the giveaway and am a new follower!

  6. This dish really looks and sounds delicious ! As a vegetarian I like that it doesn’t have meat :D.

  7. I have a vegetarian friend who I sometimes cook for, and this would be a great recipe to try with her!

  8. I really want to get better at cooking. Glad you are making an effort. Love that photo with your mom-in-law – great memory. Good job, that casserole looked YUM!

  9. Mmm! So yummy! I’m making chicken parm tonight. I’m not Italian but my daughter is! 🙂

  10. This looks really good. I think I might try and make it for my family sometime this week.

  11. Mallorie Valdez says

    That looks amazing… I am going to try it this week and see what my family thinks 🙂

  12. This looks so yummy! Thank you for sharing this!

  13. Casseroles are the best, so filling and I love being able to put the dish in the oven and clean up while its cooking. Great experience with your MIL. 🙂

  14. This is fantastic! Learn as much as you possibly can from her. It is the only way to keept the family traditions going.


  1. […] I’m looking forward to testing the spreads out in my own kitchen in many ways, including that casserole recipe that I shared a few weeks […]

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