I had a strange request from a busy blog-reader today asking what they might put into their lunchtime shopping basket which would provide almost immediate meals with no preparation for the next two nights. My first answer for the time-strapped was ready meals or take away, but my second, more correctly, was perhaps pasta for tonight and maybe a simple chicken in a dish for tomorrow.
So here is one pasta dish which is on the plate in about 7 minutes and it was the perfect tea for me this evening after my rather painful run along the beach. This is by no means an original recipe and there are many variations in any good published cookbook so don't be afraid to experiment.
For one busy person:
8 large chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
1 knob butter
1 tblsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
a small handful of Parmesan
200-250g dried Pappardelle
Bring a deep pan of salted water to the boil.
Heat the oil and butter in a small pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Fry them on a high heat for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook on a moderate heat for another 4-5 minutes.
Place as much Papardelle as you need (200g is an average for a main course) into the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes until al dente.
Mid-way through cooking the pasta, spoon a few tablespoons of the cooking water into the mushrooms as this will aid the mushroom's adherence to the pasta.
Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the mushrooms and the parmesan and stir it all gently together.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley and Parmesan shavings.
You can add a drop of cream to the mushrooms, or a finely shopped chilli if you like it to have a little kick to it. Really quick, tasty and so much better than a take-away or a ready meal!