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Panda-in-crime foolishly declared he could eat pasta for every meal of the day – so today we did.   I can be irritatingly stubborn.  I’ve been known to sing ‘100 green bottles’ all the way through (I should add that I am tone deaf).  Then there was the time a colleague and I listened to a single Boyzone song on repeat for eight hours because I insisted ‘I liked it and could listen to it all day long’.  My music compilation is more Marilyn Manson and Cradle of Filth…  Actually, I take it back.  I can be irritatingly stubborn and extremely annoying.  And so it was that Giornata della Pasta a.k.a. Pasta Pay was created and happy pandas and full stomachs abounded.

Carbonara = bacon and eggs = ideal breakfast pasta.  Cured pork is rather hard to come by and as I don’t consider processed beef bacon rashers a fitting substitute, breakfast pasta with mushrooms (and tonnes of garlic) fit the bill.

Sadly most commercially forced mushrooms have lost their earthy flavour.  I recommend staying far far away from closed cup or button mushrooms.  The texture of oyster or field mushrooms isn’t quite right, so I use fresh shitake, crimini or wild mushrooms if available and scatter in a handful of dried porcini for a real burst of ‘mushroom’ flavour.  A little porcini goes a long way, so it’s well worth the investment.

RECIPE:  Pasta ai funghi

Serves 2


250g of linguine, tagliatelle or pappardelle

A medley of fresh shitake, crimini or wild mushrooms

A scant handful of rehydrated porcini mushrooms, liquor reserved

4 crushed cloves of garlic

A generous knob of butter

A glug of olive oil

A sprig of flat leaf parsley

A generous grating of parmesan

A sprinkling of salt and grinding of pepper

INSTRUCTIONS: Bring a large pot of water to the boil.  Meanwhile, fry the sliced mushrooms and garlic in butter with a splash of oil, adding in a tablespoon or two of the porcini liquid if the sauce gets too dry.  Add the pasta to the boiling salted water.  Drain when the pasta is just al dente and toss the pasta with the mushrooms and a drizzle of oil, so every strand is glistening.  Scatter over the chopped parsley, season and heap onto plates.  Sprinkle over the parmesan and enjoy.