What do you make for dinner when it’s been a drearily wet, miserable, no good kind of day? I tend to cook pasta, the full fat, warming, soul soothing kind of pasta. Some days that’s just what we need isn’t it? Some soul soothing. Yesterday started off good, and then the rain started, relentless, cold rain, and then the news from London. My heart breaks when I see attacks like this, there just seems to be no sense to the pain and hurt that is caused. It’s hard to explain these things to a 10 year old, and you have to, because they are smart and aware and they have questions. So I point out how many police there are to keep us safe, how many amazing people rush in to help the injured and I turn off the news. The news overwhelms me. I get the impression that my explanations work and hopefully ease any worries a 10 year old girl may have; so she won’t have to worry the next time dad goes to London for work. Is it harder being a parent in 2017? I don’t know, I feel like it is but then maybe our parents kept more from us or maybe we weren’t as aware as kids are now. I know we all do our best though.
So to sooth my soul I cook, feeding my family is something I feel I can control, something I can make good, and I’m grateful that I can do this. This creamy leek and shiitake mushroom pasta is warming and comforting with sweet, soft leeks, meaty shiitake mushrooms and thick pappardelle pasta covered in a creamy white wine, parmesan and thyme sauce. Leeks are coming to the end of their season now and I wanted to share this recipe with you before they go, they are worthy of more than soup, and they can shine brightly on their own, they do however go very well with mushrooms and the meatier the mushroom the better so I have gone for shiitake, you could also use chestnut mushrooms if you prefer. This is best served straight away, at the kitchen table, in big bowls with a good helping of shaved parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and a glass of white wine. I hope it soothes you as mush as it did me x
Creamy Leek & Shiitake Pappardelle
- 150 g shiitake mushrooms wiped clean and roughly sliced
- 250 g leeks , cleaned and sliced, just as far as the light green ends
- 1 tbs olive oil
- A small knob of butter
- 2 fat cloves of garlic , minced
- 120 ml white wine
- 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme , leaves plucked
- 1 heaped tbs plain flour
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 heaped tbs creme fraiche
- 40 g vegetarian parmesan cheese , finely grated plus more for serving
- 200 g Pappardelle pasta
- A small pinch of sea salt and a good pinch of cracked black pepper plus more for serving
- Heat the oil and butter in a large sautee pan, add the leeks and cook gently over a low to medium heat for about 20 minutes stirring regularly. The leeks should be very soft.
- Add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, add the salt and pepper then turn up the heat and add the wine, now turn the heat back down and let the leeks and mushrooms soak up the wine.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Add the flour, mustard and creme fraiche to the leeks and mushrooms and stir well.
- Now add about 3 tablespoons of water from the pasta to the leeks and mushrooms and stir. Keep adding water until you get the consistency you want, I added about a 7-8 tablespoons.
- Drain the cooked pasta then add to the creamy leeks and mushrooms.
- Serve immediately with savings of parmesan cheese cracked black pepper.