Thursday, 24 October 2013

Basil, Bacon & Mushroom Pasta with Cream Sauce (Beta Version)

I have always loved cream sauce with pasta (mostly due to my love for dairy products) and I was somewhat inspired to make my own cream sauce from scratch. Years ago, it was founded upon carbonara (creamy, bacon-y goodness!) and though I knew that carbonara was made from cream and eggs, I stumbled upon a white sauce recipe instead and have been using that (Yes, ashamedly I've been making faux carbonara as I didn't want to end up scrambling the sauce) whenever I desired pasta with cream sauce. 

Today, I was inspired to try using cream (again, didn't dare to use eggs) and using a few of my other favourite ingredients - bacon, mushroom and basil! 

To be completely honest, I rarely work with cream - I make a mean batch of white sauce which IMO, I have perfected - so, this is definitely in a testing stage.

Mushrooms (whatever tickles your fancy! Better if you could get your hands on a few varieties)
Garlic (2-3 cloves)
Pasta (I bought Fettucine, when I really wanted linguine :( Use your favourite pasta)
Thickened cream (4 tbsp)
1/4 Onion (I used Red Onions; finely sliced)
Black Pepper
Cheese (Unfortunately, I used normal tasty cheese but feel free to use your favourite cheese!)
1 tbsp Basil paste (preferably fresh basil, but all I could find was basil paste...)
Butter or oil (Butter-wise, I used a small chunk. I estimated, so no measurements)

1. Prep time! I coarsely diced the garlic cloves (I love the taste of garlic with anything creamy, but reduce or add more garlic to your preferance) and thinly sliced the onion. Next, cut up your mushrooms! (In terms of proportion, it's really up to you!)

Now, I like really big chunks of mushrooms, so I bought the biggest mushroom packs the grocery store had to offer:

No, I did not cheat. This is not an upclose shot of the mushroom. My phone's camera isn't that fancy.

I told you it was a big mushroom! Palm-sized!  \(o^_^o)/

2. Next up - slice or dice the bacon to your liking! Again, I enjoy chunkiness, so chunky strips it is! (I only used one rasher of bacon in this dish).

Glorious bacon-y goodness! (I heard from my boyfriend that Australian bacon is like bacon-flavoured ham  (T_T) I'll have to try American bacon someday, but for now, this will suffice)

3. Bring water to a boil (or in my case, I just used the kettle) in a large saucepan. Add pasta to boiling water (I boiled the fettucine for about 8 minutes, give or take). Once done, get rid of the hot water and rinse pasta in a sieve under cold water until pasta is cool.

4. In this instance, I used a wok (any big frying pan shall do the trick too), add the butter to the wok until melted. Add garlic and onions. Sweat it for a couple of minutes on medium heat.

5. Add in the sliced/diced bacon and mushroom. Fry it for a couple more minutes.

6. Add in thickened cream and stir for a minute or so and then add in the basil paste and continue stirring for another minute.

7. Add the cooled pasta. Stir until sauce is evenly distributed. 

8. Turn off heat and serve! Add as much or little cheese towards your preference and do not forget cracked black pepper to taste.


Definitely need to work on presentation, but I was so hungry, I didn't really care so much - I just quickly took a photo and went on omnomnomnoming.

Taste-wise, it sure does not beat my faux cream sauce aka white sauce. It didn't thicken enough and I should really have added in more cream and next time, maybe extra chunks of tasty cheese to thicken it up more. More importantly, I cooked too much pasta in proportion with the sauce, so that's probably why it wasn't tasty enough. 

End verdict: With the amount of pasta I cooked, I needed more of everything. Actually, a generous topping of shredded tasty cheese or parmesan would have made it better. Not the best I've made, but definitely enjoy cooking with new ingredients. More practice with cream until I succeed!

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