This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s pretty easy, but requires a little care and attention – it’s the slow-cooking of the onions and mushrooms that make this dish. It’s based on a dish that an Italian chap called Luigi gave my Mum. I’m sure it’s got an exciting Italian name, though I’ve no idea what it would be. It’s originally made with chicken, mushrooms and cream, but I’ve faffed about with it. I do put chicken in it from time to time, but as mushrooms are one of my favorites, I’ve ended making this meal my mushroom fix. Use the best mushrooms you can find – my favorite are the dark-gilled Portobello mushrooms – they give a good earthy taste. I’ve also changed the double cream of the original recipe to creme fraiche, as it gives a slight piquant zing, that compliments the sweet, slightly chewy caramelised onions very well.
You will need:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 tbs good olive oil
8oz (250g) mushrooms, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or half a generous tsp of dried (oregano could be used instead)
around 5 tbs of creme fraiche (or double cream)
salt and pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
whole wheat pasta
What to do:
- Fry the onions in the oil on a medium heat along with the thyme in a large, heavy frying pan. Cook the onions gently – don’t let them change colour yet.
- After 8-10 minutes, add the garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. The idea here is that the slow frying evaporated all the moisture away allowing the onions to caramelise. The more time you spend over this the better. Take at least 15 minutes, ten minimum. You should end up with unctuous oily mushroom, and flecks of sweet, chewy onion.
- Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, boil the pasta in salted water in the largest saucepan you have – the pasta will be less gluey from escaped starch and will cook quicker.
- Stir in the creme fraiche a tablespoon at a time until all the olive oil is incorporated into it.
- Add the drained pasta to the mixture and stir through.
- Serve in large bowls.