Hey folks. I have been so terrible at keeping up with this blog since I started working, but I really want to dive back into this, so I will make a better effort to do so. It’s just so hard making an effort to develop recipes and cook and what not when you’ve been at work all day and then coming home to a mom that’s already cooked dinner for you…
First a couple of life updates: So, first off, I’m LOVING my new job. It’s at a company that I find very fascinating, and I’m doing work that I love as well. As a matter of fact, I’m doing the type of stuff I’ve been wanting to do for the last couple of years, but just had some trouble getting my foot in the door. And my team is awesome: none of the psycho crazy I had to put up with at my last job. Just good, chill, approachable people who seem to actually want me to succeed and do well. So, yay for that! Also, by now, y’all were probably waiting for my first entry about going to cooking school, but that’ll never happen since I changed my mind about that. I do love to cook, and if I wasn’t doing the 8-4:30 thing, I’d love to have a career as a food personality. It’s basically my “ultimate dream job”. But I just don’t think I need to go through a certificate program, not to mention a $19,000 bill, in order to get there. I feel like I’m pretty well-versed as it is when it comes to cooking, so I’d rather have more time on my hands and more money in my pocket. And, finally, I can honestly say that moving back home with the parents hasn’t been as bad as I thought it’d be…so far. I feel like since I got through that time to myself without completely fucking up (aside from the whole getting laid off and being unemployed for almost a year thing), they’re more inclined to back off a little more. Which is good. A guy needs his damn space. It’s not an ideal living situation, by any means, especially for an almost-27-year-old grown man. But, hey, at least more money is coming in than going out now and I’m working towards living on my own again. I just have to keep my eye on that prize in the meantime. But if I haven’t moved out of this house by the time I turn 29, someone just shoot me. And now, the food: So, after a long busy week of work, I was feeling the itch to actually cook something myself, since it’s been a while. I had been having a hankering for some good pasta for a few weeks, which has been something I’ve been trying to avoid indulging in. I’m trying to slim down, so a creamy pasta dish is more of a splurge these days. Well, Friday was a day for splurging. So I concocted this Creamy Wild Mushroom Pasta. The best thing is that this is one of those meals that sound fancier than it really is. And it’s so simple too. Served with salad and a nice cold glass of white wine, this is definitely a less-than-30-minute meal: CREAMY WILD MUSHROOM PASTA What you’ll need:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 oz bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 8 oz wild mushrooms, sliced (I used a combination of shiitake, cremini, and oyster mushrooms)
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- A hearty splash of white wine. About 2 ounces.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 oz of any flat, long type of pasta. Linguine, tagliatelle, etc.
- 1/4 cup basil, thinly julienned
What you’ll do: Start by putting the butter, olive oil and bacon in a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Sauté until bacon is cooked, but before it’s crispy. Don’t worry, you’ll crisp it up later. Right now, you’re just trying to render out the bacon fat. Once the bacon bits are out of the pan, sauté your mushrooms very, very well. As in, you’ll want to cook them until most of the juice from the mushrooms evaporates. This gets them nice and caramelized. At this point, add the bacon back to the pan, as well as the shallots and garlic. Continue cooking for exactly until the shallots are translucent and bacon just starts to crisp. Keep a close eye on the pan, because you don’t want the garlic and bacon to burn. Next add the wine, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. And let reduce for a minute. Then add your cream, bring to a mild boil and reduce heat to low and cover so the sauce can thicken while you cook your noodles. Next, add parmesan plus salt and pepper, to taste. Careful on the salt. The parmesan will add a salty element in and of itself. Finally toss your noodles and basil into the sauce. Now, this is so important: don’t pour your pasta water down the drain. You just might need it. Use tongs to transfer the pasta from the boiling water instead of draining in a colander. Now, if your sauce is a little too thick, here’s where that hot pasta water comes in handy: ladle a couple of spoonfuls into the mixture, and it will thin the sauce, keeping in mind a little bit goes a long way. The starch and salt of the pasta water will thin sauce without making it too thin and diluting the flavor. This was so, so delicious! And I cannot tell you enough how easy it was, and it could easily be disguised as something from your favorite Italian bistro. Give it a try and tell me what you think!