Of all the cuisines in the world, I think Italian is the one that my husband and I collectively tire of…never. As a result, we are comfortable eating pasta any day of the week. It’s hearty, homey, and if done right can also be healthy.
So here’s one of our go-to’s that’s been a hit both just between us two, and when we’re entertaining as well. I wish I had more attractive photos of it, but this dish is comforting, nutritious, and packed with protein, antioxidants, and fresh herbs. It can be made with meat (cubed or shredded chicken breast), or without (in it’s mushroomy glory); and served with the noodle of your choice (we usually go with normal or wholewheat Spaghetti; but I would be keen to try it as well with Shirataki, or a Gluten-Free alternative like buckwheat – aka soba). It is inspired by one of my favorite sauces by my grandma (shoutout to Aya!), with some minor modifications given local ingredients and the husband’s textural preferences. Without further ado, scroll below for the recipe!
Feeds 2-4 people (depending how hungry you are):
You will need…
- 100-150g each of 3 different kinds of mushrooms – chopped (I use shimeji, shitaki, and champignon; you can elect to either chop the mushrooms finely into an almost-mince like my grandma; or you can do rough chunks like we do)
- 5 shallots (minced)
- 5 fresh cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 4 tablespoons of butter (or your chosen substitute – works well with olive oil, peanut oil, coconut oil as well)
- 1 handful of fresh (chopped) parsley (or you can substitute this with 1 stalk of finely chopped celery)
- 250mL of cooking cream
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1.5 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 500g (or a full 4 serving pack) of pasta of choice
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 whole (2 sides) chicken breast (chopped into chunks)
And now to cook!:
- Warm your pan on medium heat
- Put in the butter, chopped shallots, and crushed garlic – stir for 1 minute, then add in your chopped mushrooms (and the chopped chicken breast if you’re putting it in there); stir again for 1 minute
- Add your 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken stock
- Cook a few minutes until the mushrooms start to get soft
- Add in the handful of parsley and the Worcestershire sauce
- Multi-task: Now, if your stove top has enough space, you should try to cook your pasta in a separate pot at the same time. Throw in a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt. At this point, it’s good timing. It should finish around the same time or a couple minutes earlier than your sauce.
- Simmer until mushrooms are officially soft
- Pour in the 250mL cooking cream
- Render the sauce to the consistency of your choice. Take note that the thicker and pastier the sauce is, the stronger the flavor will be, but the less of it you’ll get.
- Pro-Tip from the Husband: Make sure the chicken stock is relatively cooked down and mushrooms are soft before you dump in the cream otherwise the cream will split
- Multi-task: By now your pasta should be finished, if you haven’t already: drain it and toss it in a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking. (We use straight up Olive Oil when cooking, not Extra Virgin; because it has a better heating point)
- Once your sauce is all set, you can either serve it in a bowl next to your pasta, with parmesan on the side; or toss the sauce into your pasta right away with the parmesan and let it melt gloriously together
In the odd case you do have leftovers, this dish keeps well in the fridge. It admittedly keeps better when not mixed in with the pasta (just make fresh pasta for the next time you use the sauce), but it’s just fine if you’ve already mixed it. We’ve had it both ways and never complain. 🙂