Creamy Leek & Mushroom Pasta with Bacon Crumble

Perfect for a chilly night in for two!   We've elevated our classic mushroom recipe with a splash of white wine and cream.   And let's keep the bacon crispy by making it a delicious make-ahead topping for the pasta!   Try to not eat it before the meal!  

This technique is really where simple pasta cooking water shines.  Don't sleep on adding it into your dish--it is what gives the sauce thickness, and brings all of the ingredients together.   

HOT TIP:  warm your pasta bowls:  this is essential for any pasta, rice, risotto dish.   Your dish should be quite a bit saucier when you ladle it into your bowls than you think, so that your first bite is as amazing as your last!  

Serves 2 Generously 

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 tbsp. butter, divided 
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
4-5 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

½ lb mushrooms (cremini ), thinly sliced
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
5-6 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream

300g of pasta (short shape like farfalle, penne, rigatoni)
3 tbsp. kosher salt
oil, as needed 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. 
  2. Make crumble:  fry bacon with 2 tbsp. of the butter until medium crisp.  
  3. Use a spatula to scrape all into a small bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese & parsley.  Set aside.   
  4. Make sauce:  Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  5. Add a little oil to frying pan, followed by mushrooms.  Season with salt, allow to cook, undisturbed for 1 minute.  Add a splash of water and continue to cook, undisturbed for 4-5 minutes.  
  6. Add remaining butter, leeks, garlic and thyme.  Cook until leeks are softened.  Add white wine.  Reduce.  
  7. Add cream, reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Add 3 tbsp. kosher salt to boiling water and cook pasta until very al dente.  
  9. Using a fine mesh strainer, pull pasta straight from water to your pan with the sauce.  Add in about 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, bring back up to medium heat and simmer until all is combined.   
  10. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with bacon crumble!   

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Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara
A reminder when life gets busy, whip up this dinner with ingredients you most likely have on hand!  
Serves 2, can be doubled

250g pasta (spaghettini)
1⁄4 lb/6 slices bacon
2 tbsp. Butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
plenty of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup grated cheese (parmesan or romano) plus more for serving

  1. Fill a large pot with water and put it on to boil
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add bacon, butter & olive oil
  3. Fry over medium-low heat until fat is rendered but not overly crisp.
  4. In a medium sized bowl add eggs and scramble well  with salt and plenty of black pepper.  Whisk in 1⁄2 the  cheese.
  5. When water comes to a boil add about 3 tbsp. salt  and cook pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes.
  6. Work quickly to finish the dish: remove cooked pasta  from water with tongs directly into hot pan with bacon and butter. Toss well and then add pasta and bacon into the eggs. Toss well, adding about 1⁄2 cup pasta cooking water.
  7. Serve immediately topped with more cheese and freshly ground black pepper

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