一个人的午餐 – Linguini con Funghi Porcini e Bacon
Another rainy day, means another pasta day! It seems uncanny, but I enjoy making pasta when it is pouring outside and too lazy to go out. Simple recipes for simple lunches on a simple friday afternoon. :)
Linguini con Funghi Porcini e Bacon, something I whip up when I’m in the splurging mood. I love the woodsy aroma of porcini mushrooms, which is much more pungent than the usual brown or white buttons. I’d tried with the latter varieties as well as shiitake but the effect is just not quite the same. The flavours gel so well with bacon and butter, so rich in taste and aroma but definitely not so good for the calorie count! And hence the splurging mood!
a handful of linguini, but feel free to replace with your favorite pasta.
3 strips of streaky bacon, cut into 1 cm wide thick strips
a handful of dried porcini (approximately 20g), reconstituted in water for 1/2 an hour. Save the water for later use.
a handful of walnuts, first toasted and then chopped (and not the other way round)
1/2 an onion, julienned
a clove of garlic finely chopped
zest and juice of half a lemon (preferably unwaxed, if not soak in warm water for 1/2 an hour followed by gentle scrubbing)
1 knob of butter (doesn’t matter if it is salted or unsalted)
a generous splosh of olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin)
1/2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, freshly grated
Start by cooking linguini, or pasta of your choice in a pot of boiling water, with a pinch of salt added. When the pasta is bordering being al dente. Drain over wired sieve or colander. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat another saucepan and add butter followed by splosh of olive oil. This is a neat lil’ trick to prevent the butter from burning, which I’d learnt from watching Nigella. I hate to admit it but that woman does know a thing or two.
Saute onion strips over oil and butter until soft. It would be ideal if the onion would caramelised but it would take faaaaaaaar too long for that to happen. Those who tried to caramelise onions would be fully empathise of this. READ caramelise, not burn and char the onions. There is a difference you know. :)
When onions have soften, push them into a small heap one side of the saucepan and use the remaining oils to crisp up the bacon, which would invariably seep more of those wonderful fat. YUMZ!!!
For those who prefer really crisp bacon on their pasta, they can remove the bacon bits now. If not, go by the lazy way which I did, and simply add the chopped garlic to saute a while, before adding reconstituted porcini.
By now, the pasta should be really, i.e. bordering al dente texture. Check the instructions on the packaging for actual cooking time. Drain the pasta from the cooking water with a pair of tongs and add directly over the sauteeing ingredients. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water.
Melange the pasta well with the ingredients. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of pasta cooking water + 2 tbsp of porcini soaking water. Add sugar, followed by generous sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the consistency of the fluids accordingly, but I kept my pasta on the dry side as I prefer it that way.
Toss in half of the crisp bacon bits and toasted and chopped walnuts, if they were removed from the saucepan earlier. Save the other half for sprinkling.
Plate the pasta in a dish, sprinkle remaining bacon chips and walnuts.
Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan and serve immediately.