Mushroom pasta is a great option for a quick dinner. My first attempt was all about frying the mushrooms and adding some cream to make a sauce, and herbs to add extra flavour. This produced reasonable results and was cooked many times. But then came the realisation that a creamy sauce just wasn’t the way to go. Option two removed the cream and relied on extra virgin olive oil and some liquid from cooking the pasta. It worked and was reasonable, and once again cooked many times. But something wasn’t quite right, something was missing. And then I stumbled upon a recipe that uses white wine as the sauce base. However, the reality is I don’t have white wine hanging around the kitchen but do keep chicken stock on hand, so with a few changes to accommodate the pantry cupboard, this is now how I cook mushroom pasta.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 - 8 sprigs thyme
- 800g mixed mushrooms, larger mushrooms chopped, smaller ones sliced (swiss brown, portobello, button - the more variety the more flavoursome)
- 50g butter, chopped
- 250ml white wine OR chicken stock
- salt and ground black pepper
- 500g fettuccine or pappardelle pasta (long thick pasta works well)
- 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths (or broccolini if you'd prefer)
- couple of handfuls baby spinach leaves
- grated parmesan, to serve
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. (Dried pasta usually takes 10-12 minutes to cook, so plenty of time to cook the mushrooms...)
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the spring onions, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, butter and wine/stock, and season well with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain. Alternatively you can add the asparagus to the sauce 3 minutes before the pasta is cooked. Saves on washing up.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the saucepan. Add the mushroom sauce and toss to combine. Add an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired, then serve immediately, with grated parmesan and spinach leaves on top.
Adapted from Karen Martini, The Karen Martini Collection