So I’ve been going through this pasta phase for about….28 years now. (True story: my first word was Noodle.) I’d eat it 3 times a day, 7 days a week if it was socially acceptable and had no waist-line/blood sugar/overall health implications. Alas, I try to keep it to about once a week which is really (REALLY) difficult for me. I love pasta in all forms but there’s something particularly wonderful about a cream sauce. I think it’s the joy that comes from indulging in something a little sinful. Side note: I don’t believe in ‘low fat’ versions of decadent things – if you’re going to go for it, GO FOR IT. Just don’t eat a lot of it. I guess. I don’t generally follow a recipe for pasta, but just go with the flavour combinations that I know and love. This is one of my all-time faves. And to be honest, anything involving bacon is going to be one of my all-time faves.
1 tsp butter
2 cups chopped portabello mushrooms. It will seem like a lot but those little suckers cook down a ton
2 cups chopped baby spinach. Same note as above
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup of chopped cooked bacon. You can also use pancetta or any other salty fatty pork delight.
1 tsp minced garlic (fresh or from a jar – this is a judgment free zone)
½ cup of cream. I wouldn’t recommend anything less than 18%. Whipping cream (35%) will be the best but I understand if you’re all “omg! the fat, the fat!” You’re not using that much. Go crazy.
¼ cup of chicken stock
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 500g package of fresh pasta. I recommend something twirly like linguine because it goes really well with a cream sauce but the choice is yours.
How to do it:
1) get a pot of salted water on to boil. Always salt your water – I can’t stress this enough. It makes all the difference in the world. THE WORLD.
2) Heat a pan over medium heat. Give it about 6-7 minutes to get nice and toasty. But not too hot or the butter will burn and that’s not delicious
3) Drop your butter in and swirl it around.
4) Drop in your shallots and bacon and let them sizzle up and get to know each other for about 6 minutes until the shallots turn translucent.
5) throw in your mushrooms and give everything a stir. Let this sautee for 10 minutes or until everything starts to look a bit toasted.
6) Add your chicken stock. Let everything come up to a little bubble and then reduce the heat a tiny bit and let all that good stuff happen for about another 6 minutes
7) Add your spinach. Stir that around a bit.
7) This should also be the time that you throw in your pasta. The timing should work out just perfectly. Like a well-oiled machine.
8) When your pasta is cooked, DON’T DRAIN IT. Simply use a pair of tongs to pull it out of the water and straight into your pan of mushroom spinach garlic delight. The starchiness that’s on the pasta is going to tie the sauce to the noodle in perfect harmony. Don’t jeopardize the harmony.
9) add your cream and parmesan cheese and start to stir it all together. If it’s looking too thick, add a splash of your pasta water. If it’s not looking thick enough, give it time. The noodles will absorb some more liquid and all will be right in the world.
10) Grab a serving spoon, serve up a bowl and get those creamy carbs (with a good balance of nutritious vegetables) into your mouth.