Speedy supper: pancetta & mushroom pasta

I wanted something quick tonight as I was supposed to go to the water aerobic class which started at 8pm. I didn’t go, but that doesn’t matter here.

I don’t usually use bottled sauces, preferring to make my own but there were some on special offer in the cash & carry so I thought I’d give them a go. They are ‘Sacla’, a brand I’ve seen advertised. Other purchases at the cash & carry were some pancetta – 4 x 125g portions in one pack and loads of mushrooms. I love mushrooms.

I usually throw in everything I can find when making a stir-fry or a ‘bitsa’ but decided to go with the ‘less is more’ philosophy tonight. With fewer ingredients you can taste each of them more clearly.

So, I tipped the pancetta (bacon bits) into a dry frying pan and let it cook for a few minutes – till all the tasty oil started to sizzle in the pan. I carefully took the bacon out of the pan, leaving behind as much of the oil as I could and putting the bacon on a sheet of kitchen paper on a plate so as much of the oil as possible would be absorbed by the paper, leaving a less fattening, tastier pile of bacon.

making pancetta & mushroom pasta

I tipped the mushrooms (which had been sliced – if they are tiny you could keep them whole) into the bacon fat in the pan and let them cook. I added some crushed garlic on top of the mushrooms. I find if I put garlic straight into the fat it burns.

Meanwhile, I started the spaghetti cooking in a large pan of boiling, salted water. When the mushrooms were almost done and the spaghetti had been drained, I put the bacon back into the pan with the mushrooms and spooned half a jar of the puttanesca sauce on top. Then discovered it contained olives and picked them out. (Okay so you all knew that this sauce contains olives – I didn’t).

pancetta & mushroom pasta

After a couple of minutes of letting the sauce warm through I put the spaghetti in the frying pan with everything else, gave it a stir and dished up. A sprinkling of Parmesan on top completed it.

I had made enough for three smallish portions, intending to have the third portion as my lunch tomorrow. However, I decided that it probably wasn’t very good lunchbox fare and let my SO, who wolfed his down and appeared to be looking for ‘the rest of his dinner’ have the extra portion.

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