Bacon & Mushroom Pasta

Serves 4

If crème fraiche is not available (or expensive) you can mix heavy cream and whole milk yogurt about half and half to get an acceptable substitute. Out of season, you can use basil leaves that have been frozen whole. They keep well in the freezer.

14 oz/400g penne pasta

1 pound/450g chestnut or white mushrooms, sliced

8 slices bacon, sliced in bite-size bits

4 tbsp basil pesto or commercial pesto, chilled

¾ cup/200ml crème fraiche

handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped

  1. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to directions. Reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking (or afterwards if you prefer), take a large skillet and fry the bacon and mushrooms over medium high heat so that the mushrooms fry rather than sweat. This takes about 5 minutes until bacon and mushrooms are brown.
  3. Add the pasta to the bacon and mushrooms along with some of the pasta water, and stir briefly.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the pesto and crème fraiche. Mix briefly and add most of the basil leaves, saving some for garnish. Mix quickly until blended and serve.

Source: “BBC Good Food”, October 2005

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