You know how some nights you’re all “Let’s go for a walk and eat a superfood salad!?” and then other nights you just want to lie on the sofa in your PJs with a blanket and shovel high carb food into your mouth? Yup? Well this is the pasta recipe for those sofa nights. A super fast, super indulgent dish with just enough time built in to get your PJs on and find your new series on Netflix. I don’t know about you, but we’re DYING for Series 4 of The Americans on FX and this will totally be what we’re eating during the series premiere.
What’s not to love about a 5 ingredient dinner – pasta, eggs, mascarpone (or heavy cream), pancetta and mushrooms plus a few storecupboard staples – salt, pepper, butter, garlic, onion and parmesan. As least I count butter, garlic, onion and parmesan as “essential” items in our home 😉 and it takes maybe 15 minutes to prepare. One of the unsung hero ingredients in this dish is the leftover pasta cooking water – the starchiness brings everything together!
Simply cook the mushrooms and a little garlic in butter until brown and nutty, remove and cook pancetta, add onions, add back cooked mushrooms. Mix eggs and mascarpone. Grate cheese. Cook pasta (reserve cooking water!!!!) and add to pan (off heat), throw in a handful of cheese (channel Mickey Mouse size hands for this), a big splash of the starchy cooking water and then add the mixture of eggs and mascarpone cheese. Toss vigorously and serve in warmed bowls.
Actually, you could probably make this in 10 minutes if it wasn’t for my insistence that mushrooms should be cooked separately. I love my mushroom friends but they tend to color everything else…well, mushroom color. If you’re happy eating grey food, then by all means cook the mushrooms at the same time as the onion and skip step 1.
At best this is a VERY incorrect carbonara (the pancetta should be replaced with guanciale, mushrooms are uninvited imposters, onions and garlic are as welcome as a coven of vampires in your home, mascarpone or heavy cream is all kind of sacrilegious and WHERE IS THE SPAGHETTI?!?!?), but here’s the thing, it tastes pretty great. And the addition of the mascarpone or heavy cream reduces the risk of your eggs scrambling in the pan. You’re welcome.
Indulgent creamy pasta with pancetta and mushrooms
8 oz mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms but baby bella or regular white mushrooms work too!), if you have a sprig of fresh thyme or some fresh parsley, throw it in.
2 cloves fresh garlic – crushed or finely sliced
Large knob of butter
6 oz pancetta (or bacon)
1 small onion – finely diced
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp marscapone cheese (or 3 tbsp heavy cream if you can’t find mascarpone)
6 oz parmegiano regiano (you can also do a 50:50 mix of parmesan and pecorino)
4-6 oz of dried pasta. I have a fondness of De Cecco egg fettucine (it comes in nice little nests, 1 nest per person is perfect) – you’ll see it in the step-by-step picture or a nice ruffled pasta as in the top picture.
- Saute sliced mushrooms in a large pan (you need to have room for everything in this pan later) with a little butter over a medium heat until golden brown and just starting to smell nutty. Add garlic for the last minute of cooking. Remove to a plate/bowl.
- Put a large pot of water on to boil, salt generously.
- In the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms in, add the diced pancetta and cook over a medium heat (stirring regularly) until the fat has started to render out and the pancetta is getting crispy.
- Add diced onions and stir vigorously so the moisture in the onions loosens up the browned crispy bits (fond) on the bottom of the pan. When the onion is lovely and soft and just on the verge of turning golden, add the mushrooms back to pan and reduce the heat to the very lowest setting just to keep everything warm.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for the required time
- While the pasta cooks, mix the whole egg, egg yolks and mascarpone in a small bowl. It won’t really mix and you’ll have weird lumps. Don’t worry about it. Add some salt and pepper (and have a sip of wine!)
- Grate the cheese with a microplane grater.
- Put serving bowls or plates into oven on low or fill with boiling water (tip water out just before serving)
- Drain the pasta making sure to save some pasta water (I usually stick a large coffee mug under my colander to catch the water)
- With the pan OFF the heat, add the drained pasta to the mushroom/pancetta mix.
- Add the grated cheese and a good glug of the pasta water (1/4-1/2 cup to start)
- Add the lumpy egg/mascarpone mixture and toss like crazy. You don’t want scrambled eggs! More of a silky, creamy, rich sauce. Add more pasta water if things look dry.
- Serve on warmed plates/bowls and add a final shaving of fresh parmigiano regiano.
What’s your must-watch TV series at the moment? What should we watch next? We’re all caught up on Making of a Murderer, House of Cards, The Americans, True Detective….