I used to avoid making pastas with cream sauces.
The main reason was because cream sauces cannot be left sitting around. They tend to dry out and become cloggy.
The second reason was that I dislike sauces that are too creamy.
Having said that, many people love cream sauces so after much trial and error, I finally came up with a way to make a cream pasta sauce that is not too heavy, and can be made ahead, left to sit either on the stove, or in the fridge, and finished just before serving.
I started by dicing the onion finely. Then I sliced the bacon into strips. I also removed the stems of the mini Portobello mushrooms and then sliced them. These were set aside.
I used mini Portobello mushrooms because they happened to be on sale. You can always use white mushrooms, brown button mushrooms, Chanterelle, Porcini, Morel or a mixture of mushrooms.
I also happened to have some roasted lemon-thyme chicken breast that I had shredded. For a vegetarian version of this dish, omit the chicken and bacon, and use more mushrooms.
Into a hot Dutch oven, I added a little extra virgin olive oil and browned the bacon. This also helped to render the fat from the bacon.
Once they were brown, the bacon was removed and set aside.
If there is too much oil, remove some of the oil until you have about 2 tablespoons of oil left.
I added the diced onion and sauteed them for about two minutes until they had softened.
Then I added the minced garlic, gave it a stir and added the mushrooms as well as the butter.
Once the butter had melted, I added the wine, and cooked at high heat until half the wine had evaporated. If you do not wish to use wine, add some stock instead.
Next, the chicken and bacon were added and stirred to combine.
At this stage, you can turn off the fire and cover the dish if you wish to eat the pasta at a later time.
About ten minutes before you are ready to eat, cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, reserved a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
Heat the Dutch oven. Once the liquid starts to boil, add the cream. Stir, and turn the heat to medium. Add the corn starch slurry. Stir until sauce has thickened. Add the salt, pepper and chopped flat leaf parsley.
Stir to combine, then add the cooked pasta to the sauce.
Using a pair of tongs, I mixed the pasta with the sauce. If the sauce is too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until the right consistency is achieved.
And serve, topped with more chopped flat leaf parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Egg Pasta with Chicken and Mushroom in Cream Sauce (Serves 4)
1 packet egg pasta (or any other pasta)
1 small onion, diced
1 tbs minced garlic
100g bacon, cut into strips
200g mini Portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
25g butter (unsalted, preferably)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream (more if you like the sauce to be more creamy)
2 tbs corn starch, mixed with 2-3 tbs water to make a slurry
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely grounded black pepper
1. Heat Dutch oven. Cook bacon until brown and slightly crispy. Remove bacon.
2. Saute onion for two minutes. Add garlic and saute for one minute.
3. Add mushroom and butter. Cook until butter has melted.
4. Pour wine into dutch oven. Cook at high heat until about half the wine has evaporated.
5. Place chicken and bacon into dutch oven. Stir to combine.
6. 6. Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, reserved a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
7. Add cream to sauce. Stir then add corn starch slurry and stir until sauce has thickened.
8. Add salt, pepper and chopped flat leaf parsley. Stir to combine
9. Place drained pasta into dutch oven. Mix with a pair of tongs, adding some reserved pasta water until the desired consistency is achieved.
10. Serve, topped with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.