Mushroom and pancetta creamy pasta

Hope everyone is staying safe! As most of us have had lots of time to stay in and cook, I’ve been exploring quicker and easy to make recipes for you to use at home.

As we all need to limit our movement during this time, the key to a good recipe is adaptability. Don’t feel pressured to get the exact same ingredients – simply replace, replace, replace and use what you have at home.

A quick tip: For this recipe, if you’re using left over spaghetti, or your spaghetti cooks before the sauce and starts sticking together, just run some cold water through it. This will help remove the stickiness.

Hope you enjoy.

Essie Eats signature

WHAT YOU NEED

For 2-3 people

  • 8 mushrooms
  • 3 rashers of bacon chopped or 170g Pancetta / lardons
  • Parmesan cheese (or any cheese you have to top off)
  • 1 pack of spaghetti
  • Oliver oil (or any oil you have)
  • 4 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 248ml of double cream (basically one pack)
  • 2 cups of Chicken stock (homemade or create by using 1 chicken stock cube and mixing with hot water)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley (optional)

 

STEPS

For the spaghetti

  1. Place water and 1 tbsp of salt in a saucepan to boil. (TIP: Use hot water, this will make the water boil quicker)
  2. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook for 12 minutes. (TIP: Make sure it’s not too soft, as we’ll be adding to the sauce later)

The sauce

  1. Place a large frying pan on high heat, then add the bacon for 3-5 minutes. Now remove and set to the side. (TIP: Don’t allow the bacon to get too crispy, this will avoid overcooking it when it’s added back in later).
  2. Now add 1tbsp of olive oil and butter, then add the onions to fry until softened. Add the garlic and cook for an extra 1-2 minutes.
  3. Now add the mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes or till it’s a golden colour. Then season with salt and black pepper. (Optional: Add a dash of white wine to add an edge).
  4. Add in the bacon.
  5. Now add the chicken stock, double cream and parmesan. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes, until it slightly thickens.
  6. Stir in the drained spaghetti. Leave to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Now add some parmesan cheese. And you’re done!

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Minh: Hidden Gems in the East

One of the things I love about London is that once you think you’ve explored the whole city, you discover something new. Minh, a Vietnamese restaurant humbly wedged between two stores, in East London’s Canning Town is my latest discovery and obsession. Ever since my first visit, I’ve been back and I still can’t get enough – and you can find out why.

Signature

OVERALL

Price Tag: £

Occasion: Casual date night, friends, family

Ambiance: 5

Food: 8

Location: 390 Barking Rd, Plaistow, London E13 8AJ (Canning Town station)

Website: http://www.minhrestaurant.co.uk/

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COST

This place is incredibly affordable! Appetisers start from £5 and mains £6 (yes £6), the main dishes are very generous, so you can share a starter between two people. Overall, I spent £13 for a starter, drink and appetiser.  

 

APPETISER

I first ordered the Sweet Chilli chicken wings, Cay Ngot (£6.50), they also provide a spare rib version too. Overall, the skin had a lovely crispy texture, and the meat was tender. Additionally, the sweet chilli sauce was a perfect balance between the two flavours as it wasn’t too spicy or sweet.

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Sweet Chilli chicken wings, Cay Ngot (£6.50)

Next, I ordered the Salt & Pepper Squid, Rang Muoi (£7.50). I love squid and I would definitely say this is one of my favourite battered squid dishes. The batter was crispy, light and seasoned well with salt and pepper. The texture of the squid was perfect, it was not overcooked, which usually leads to a rubbery texture – it was tender. I also enjoyed the onion and chilli garnish, the onions were crunchy and seasoned so this complemented the squid nicely. Additionally, the portion size was very generous so you can share between two people to save money. 

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Salt & Pepper Squid, Rang Muoi (£7.50)

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, go for the Pak Choi (or Bok Choi) £6 which is a Chinese cabbage. Overall the flavour was great and  not too overpowering, I just wish it was a little more crunchier and cooked for less time.

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Pak Choi (or Bok Choi) £6

 

MAINS

A good menu design is always key, and Minh does this fairly well. The menu has images of the dishes so you get a good idea of what you can expect, both portion wise and visually.

If you’re looking for a plain dish still full of flavour, then opt for the egg fried rice (£3.50). The rice was fluffy and firm just how the perfect fried rice should be. It was also well seasoned with salt and pepper, giving it a nice finish. The caramelised onions also gave it a lovely smoky finish.

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Egg fried rice (£3.50)

I also ordered the mixed meat fried rice (£7), which is simply the egg fried rice with beef, prawns and chicken. Similar to the egg fried rice, the texture was fluffy and firm. It was also well seasoned and the prawns and meat were tender and not chewy in texture.

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Mixed meat fried rice (£7)

Overall

The food is very good, flavourful and affordable. I enjoyed the intimacy of this family owned restaurant, and the service was great – the staff are always so friendly and accommodating. Additionally, the food arrives fairly quickly.

Places like Minh are a reminder to take time to explore and get lost in any city you find yourself in. Gems like Minh tend to get overlooked due to visibility, so whilst it’s easier to spot the Shard or Heron Tower, it’s not so easy to spot a small restaurant tucked away. Therefore, once in a while get lost and see what your local area has to offer. Like Minh, you may be pleasantly surprised what you find if you look hard enough.