Pappardelle with bacon + mushrooms

My word this is good – think of it as a French version of carbonara (well, it is a recipe from Raymond Blanc!) but in many ways it’s simpler and easier to make so I’m predicting that I will be making it a lot. A whole lot. If you haven’t got any fresh thyme use a hearty pinch of dried, but don’t miss it out altogether, nor the parsley, because it’s the herbs that work the magic here. Serves 4.

Ingredients

250g smoked bacon or lardons

250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large sprig thyme, leaves only

500g pappardelle pasta

200g crème fraîche

Handful of chopped parsley

Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Slice up your bacon, grab a large frying pan, pop it on a medium hot heat and fry the bacon for 4 or 5 minutes until golden and the fat has rendered out making it tasty and crispy. Scoop them out and set aside.
  2. Tip the mushrooms into the same pan, spread them out then leave them alone to cook on one side for a couple of minutes, then flip them over – you should end up with slightly browned mushrooms that have released some liquid. If you keep stirring them you’ll just end up with wet slimy mushrooms, and no-one wants that.
  3. In the mean time put your pasta on to cook in plenty of boiling salted water.
  4. Add the garlic and thyme to the mushrooms and cook for a minute more, then tip the bacon back in and cook until lovely and hot.
  5. Pour in the crème fraîche, mix well, then reduce to a simmer for a minute to thicken a little, then check the seasoning – you’ll definitely need black pepper, but salt will depend on the saltiness of your bacon or lardons.
  6. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to your sauce along with the parsley, and toss well.
  7. Serve with grated parmesan. Nom nom nom.

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