You could make this quick and easy pasta dish with dried porcini and chestnut mushroom sauce as a vegetarian dish, however, the crispy bacon lardons I use to top it with add protein and an extra dimension of flavour and texture. Either way, it’s completely delicious and, as long as you remember to pre-soak the porcini mushrooms in advance, you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes. It’s a perfect autumn supper dish for two or just double or treble the ingredients to serve four or six people.
- 300g Malfada corta pasta, it’s like short cut tagliatelle; I use Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’
- 4 pieces of streaky bacon cut into lardon strips
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 25g butter
- 150ml double cream
- 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 30ml white wine (brandy or Madeira works well too)
- 1 tsp brown French mustard
- 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- About an hour or so before you want to cook the dish, place the dried porcini in a small bowl and just cover with boiling water. This will create a full flavoured stock to use in the sauce. When you are ready to start cooking, strain the stock away from the mushrooms into another dish. Reserve the porcini which should now be plumped up and rehydrated, chop them finely.
- Put the pasta on to cook according to the pack instructions. It should take about 10 minutes.
- Fry the bacon lardons in a large non-stick frying pan. It should take just a few minutes for them to become crisp and brown. Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put them to one side on a plate.
- Add the butter to the bacon fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook them until lightly browned and caramelised. Add the white wine and stir for a few moments so it burns off the alcohol. Pour in the porcini stock except the last few drops in the bottom of the dish as it might contain a little fine grit from the mushrooms. Allow it to evaporate and concentrate to half the volume. Stir in the chopped porcini, mustard and the cream. Season with a little salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Taste and check the seasoning is to your liking. The sauce should be quite thick and silky. Stir in the parsley.
- Drain the pasta and reserve and tablespoon of the starchy cooking water. Turn the drained pasta into the sauce and stir to coat it thoroughly. If it needs to loosened slightly, add the reserved cooking water.
- Divide into two equal portions and turn it into warmed pasta bowls. Top with an equal amount of the crispy bacon lardons and top with a generous grating of Parmesan.
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