Whenever my husband asks me to make something special the dish he most often requests is pasta with mushroom and bacon cream sauce, which works for me since this dish comes together in minutes (and the best part is that he hasn't caught on to that yet).
Let's not kid ourselves here - with bacon and cream as the main ingredients this is a rich dish to be savoured on occasion. However, being somewhat health conscious, I do try to mitigate the damage by using table cream (which contains 18% milk fat) instead of whipping cream - half the fat but with no noticeable difference in taste or texture. I have tried lower fat cream without much success so I recommend the table cream (or the whipping cream if you're feeling especially decadent).
I like the flavour of cremini mushrooms but I have to admit that they tint the sauce somewhat (not an issue in my household but if you want a pristine sauce feel free to substitute white button mushrooms). I like the smoky flavour of bacon but pancetta also works well in this recipe. Careful with the salt or you'll be sorry since the bacon and the pancetta are quite salty.
This is my first submission to Presto Pasta Nights, a blog event all about pasta (yum!) created by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. This also happens to be PPN's second birthday - congratulations Ruth on two years of delicious pasta posts!
Farfalle with mushroom and bacon cream sauce
500g (approx. 1 lb) farfalle pasta
250 ml (1 cup) table cream (18%)
250g (8oz) sliced mushrooms
4 strips bacon
1 tsp olive oil
grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to directions on package. Pasta should be cooked to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking cut the bacon into 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces and saute in a dry pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel.
Drain bacon fat from pan and add 1 tsp olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until cooked. You may add a bit of salt to help the mushrooms release their water.
When the mushrooms are cooked add the cream to the pan and stir. Return the cooked bacon to the pan and allow the cream mixture to simmer over medium-low heat for a few minutes until slightly thickened. The mixture will thicken further once the pasta is added so do not overcook at this stage. If desired, add salt to taste (I don't usually add salt here as the bacon and parmesan cheese are quite salty).
Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Add cooked pasta to pan with cream sauce and toss, adding pasta water a little bit at a time if necessary to loosen up the sauce.
Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.