All thanks to a stupid bus...
Our hours of sitting on a bus during our school trip to Kerala had one advantage: I sat and invented a recipe.
It was inspired by the pasta sauce my mum makes by puréeing things like bell peppers, zucchini or aubergine for a base. I tried to think of vegetables that she hadn't used that would work nicely for a sauce. Mushrooms came to mind, and I thought of capers and feta tasting really nice with them.
So my very own recipe was born! The sauce technique was based on the basic white sauce that my mum had taught me to make. But instead of adding flour to the butter, I replaced it with the puréed mushrooms and some cream and milk.
I absolutely loved it! (For once. My own creations are rarely a success.) The sauce was thick and creamy and the feta and capers tasted perfect with the sauce and the ciabatta croutons were crunchy at first and then soft as they absorbed the sauce.
Definitely, definitely worth making-- even for non-mushroom people, because it doesn't have a strong mushroom flavour and it blends nicely with all the other components.
Mushroom Cream Pasta with Feta, Capers and Ciabatta Croutons
By Me :)
I need to work on writing down my recipes... I apologise for the vagueness, I really just made it according to taste and experimentation. I'll try and be as specific as possible with my instructions.
Rosemary (leaves separated)
1/2 Red Onion (peeled and finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (peeled & finely chopped)
1 box of button mushrooms (washed and roughly chopped)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 packet Heavy Cream
Feta Cheese (crumbled/ chopped into roughly 1 cm pieces
Old bit of country bread like ciabatta, baguette etc.
Pasta of your choice
Put your pasta (Fusilli is my favourite!) on to boil with a little spoonful of salt. Remember to turn it off when it becomes al-dente. You can also put it on to boil later on as it doesn't take long. Doing it later will give it a softer consistency and taste.
Melt a chunk of butter in a large saucepan with some rosemary leaves (learnt that from my dad: add the rosemary into the oil/butter to give an amazing aroma and all-round flavour). Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and soft.
Add your mushrooms, about 1 tsp if salt and a few cracks of black pepper. (I accidentally made my sauce too salty, so we omitted the salt in the pasta water later)
Cover with the lid and let the mushrooms cook for a while, until nice and brown.
Meanwhile, slice up your old bread and toast it with some olive oil on a frying pan. Then chop/break it up into croutons.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, turn off the fire and let them cool for a couple of minutes. Blend directly in the saucepan using a hand blender or pour into a food processor/blender.
Pour in some heavy cream as you blend. Mine became lovely and thick, but it was a bit too thick and short on quantity. So add some milk and continue to blend until you have a substantial amount and a nice consistency.
When heating up the sauce you will need to add some more milk as it will thicken.
Add the capers (however much you like) and the feta (again, based on how much you'd like) just a minute or so before turning off the stove so that the cheese doesn't melt, but it's all warm.
Dish out the pasta, pour the sauce over it and sprinkle the croutons and some more feta (for a hot-cold mix). Enjoy!