There’s nothing quite as comforting as ribbons of pasta dripping with sauce. Add a panful of meaty mushrooms sautéed in white wine with woody herbs and dinner is sorted. It’s my simple yet very satisfying Lemon cream mushroom tagliatelle pasta. Hearty food for easy midweek suppers.
Pasta is possibly one of the best flavour carriers. These starchy strands act like a carb-sponges, readily absorbing flavourful sauces. Back in the seventies, plain pasta came neatly nestled in bowls with the sauce spooned rather awkwardly on top. Adopting traditional Italian practices, we’ve come to appreciate that the sauce and pasta work best tossed together in the pan. This method ensures that your first mouthful will be as tasty as the last.
What makes this pasta different from a more traditional alfreddo, is the sauce. It starts out with a basic béchamel. To bolster the taste, I add lemon zest plus some juice, freshly grated parmesan cheese and cream. With the lemony sauce done, you can get on with frying the mushrooms. The meatiness of mushrooms replaces the need for protein and is a great source of essential B vitamins. You can use any combination here. Dried porcini mushrooms will add a distinctive umami flavour to the pasta. I’d pair it with fresh cultivated mushrooms so that the flavour doesn’t overwhelm.
The most challenging part of tonight’s supper is to cook the pasta al dente – firm to the bite. Once the tagliatelle is just tender, drain and toss with the mushroom sauce. Pasta waits for no one, so be sure to gather the clan at the table, forks and spoons at the ready. Scatter liberally with flat leaf Italian parsley and don’t be shy with the parmesan either. Easy comfort food to see us through the last of winter’s chilly nights.
Lemon cream mushroom tagliatelle pasta
For the lemon cream sauce
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) all purpose flour
- 4 cups (1 litre) full cream milk
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup (125ml) single or whipping cream
For the mushroom tagliatelle
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 250g (about 2 cups) button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 stem of each, fresh rosemary and thyme, de-stalked and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine
- 400g tagliatelle pasta
- flat leaf parsley, for finishing
- grated parmesan, to serve
- Melt the butter in deep saucepan. Add the flour and whisk to form a roux.
- Add the milk a little at a time, whisking all the while to prevent lumps forming and to cook out the raw, flour taste.
- Once the béchamel sauce is thickened, season with salt and pepper.
- Add the lemon zest and juice, parmesan cheese and cream. Whisk to combine and heat through until the cheese is melted.
- In a large based pan, heat the olive oil and butter together.
- Add the mushrooms and cook on high heat until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms have taken on a golden colour.
- Season with sea salt, black pepper and the chopped, fresh herbs.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half. Add the lemon cream béchamel sauce to the mushrooms and toss to coat.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling, salted water. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.
- Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss through. Add as much of the cooking water as is necessary for a silky, soft sauce.
- Scatter with roughly chopped flat leaf parsley and extra parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately.
For more easy midweek pasta recipes, be sure to have a look in here:
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