Firstly, how good is goats cheese?! I’ve had it in a few dishes at restaurants but couldn’t really remember how it taste. I decided to get a pack for home. It just adds that extra life, to an otherwise boring dish. Yum! Yum!
Back to what I’ve actually cooked. It was Monday and the rain was rolling in on a late autumn evening. After work, I plonked myself on the couch feeling a bit buggered from the day and sorry for myself with a sprained dominant thumb. I started thinking, I could not be bothered cooking, is it going to be Thai takeaway or just left overs. The two options weren’t exciting me either.
I started watching this food tv-show Catherine’s Italian Kitchen. It's about this Irish chef that discovers Italian cooking through her Italian husband and family. She showed a few simple recipes and got me really wanting pasta. I kept watching and felt so inspired … perhaps motivated would be a better word. None the less, I summoned some strength from my empty belly and made a spinach tomato pasta with bacon and mushrooms. This dish is another Fongolicious-original. So I had low expectations. I sorta winged it, trying not to wreck anything. Turned out really well and very tasty. The bacon is optional for the vegetarians out there. Not a bacon muncher? You can substitute for chicken or whatever other meat you fancy. A salty protein helps with adding less/no salt during cooking.
Hope you’ll try this out and let me know what you think.
250g spiral pasta – boiled as per packet instructions
1 tin of canned tomatoes
1 medium onion – finely chopped
4 rashers of bacon
200g spinach – I used half a packet of frozen spinach defrosted
200g fresh mushrooms – sliced
3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
herbs – parsley, basil, oregano, 3/4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg – grated
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tblspn butter
1 1/2 tblspn plain flour
1/2 tblpsn olive oil
2 tbpsn sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Goats cheese to serve
1. Boil pasta as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt half the amount of butter over medium heat and add olive oil then slice mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium low and lightly sauté with some parsley flakes. Slow heat allows it soften and not burn. Set aside.
3. In same pan, increase heat back to medium and add bacon and half the amount of onions. Stir around and cover to “sweat” the onions and bacon. The onions will go translucent and bacon will go soft. Set aside. Same bowl as mushrooms is fine.
4. In medium low heat in the same pan, melt the rest of the butter and add flour and whisk to form a roux. Add the rest of the onions then tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes with a fork. Add garlic, nutmeg and herbs and bring to a slow simmer. Stir in spinach. Return cooked mushrooms and bacon. Stir through. Add sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes. If very chunky, you can add some water.
5. Taste and season with salt & pepper. Turn heat off and stir through sour cream until it melts through.
6. Mix with pasta and serve with goats cheese. Feel free to garnish with fresh herbs and pepper.