Everyone has a recipe that they fall back on when they can think of bugger all else to make for dinner. This is mine. It’s a bit of a family heirloom, passed down to me from my dad’s pool of culinary knowledge. There is a story to accompany its acquisition, but I’m pretty sure this is neither the time nor the place, thank goodness.
All you need to know is that this dish is a winner. It’s perfectly crafted to cure hangovers, mend broken hearts and, at the most basic, fill the hungry. Unfortunately, meals that fulfil all these criteria are rarely good for you and this dish is no exception. The main ingredient is my arch enemy, cream. Luckily, I can assure you that once you taste this beauty all thoughts of the hours you will have to spend in the gym to work this chub generator off will disappear.
1. Firstly, put a dash of oil in a decent sized frying pan. Try to get one with high sides, otherwise this will get messy. Finely crush your garlic and add it to the hot oil.
2. Once the garlic has lightly browned, tip in the diced onion and fry until it goes slightly see through. This usually takes about five minutes.
3. Now, mix in the bacon, frying it with the onion, until it goes a little crispy.
4. Around this time, it would be good to get a large pan of salted water on to boil.
5. Next, add the sliced mushrooms to the onion and bacon mix. If you love the fungal fruit, add lots! If you are not so keen, you can reduce the amount or even forgo them completely.
6. Mix two heaped teaspoons of pesto in with the fried goods.
7. Once the pesto has covered the other ingredients, add a good slug of the wine to the frying pan and let the alcohol boil off a bit.
8. Now is a good time to add the pasta to your (hopefully) boiling water.
9. Take the frying pan of the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding a really decent amount of cream, a minimum of 25ml, basically enough to cover all the ingredients.
10. Taste the sauce. If it’s a bit too salty or not sloppy enough, add more cream ( I told you it was bad for you…).
11. Hopefully, you will have timed this part perfectly (lucky you!) In which case, your pasta will be cooked to perfection, i.e. a little al dente, and you can mix the two together.
12. Finally, enjoy with a lovely mound of grated parmesan cheese, and the rest of the wine you cunningly left out!
Depending on the amount of pasta you make, this dish can cover intimate dinners for two and mass feasts for many. This recipe will basically cover up to five people. Any more and you need to start adding more onions and garlic.
Main image drawn by Zoë Zietman.