When I was living in London, I made a delicious pasta dinner one night out of leftover foods in my fridge.  I don’t know how it ended up tasting so good, but I never wrote down the recipe and have since made several attempts at replicating the dish.  This is about as close as I’ve come to it.  Other attempts were blegh.  It’s a bit of a carbonara rip-off, but since I still can’t bear to mix raw egg into food, this is about as close as I’ll come to real homemade carbonara. Too bad I can’t turn back time and watch myself make the original one!  It seemed so easy at the time.  But upon reflection, perhaps it was better because the ingredients were better.  Not to go into lengthy discussion about the UK’s food system but in general it’s much stricter, better regulated, and results in yumma yumma yumma all around, kind of like THIS (at the 0:40 mark).  Anddddd SIDE NOTE: in case you haven’t watched “Extras,” you better put that on your to-do list.  I just finished the second season.  Brilliant.  Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant… I don’t know how two people can be so totally awesome.

More better-than-bacon!  For you Chicagoans, you can get this type of bacon, too.  C&D Farms operates out of many different farmer’s markets from spring to fall.  In the winter, they sell meats out of their van at several locations (like Hyde Park and Lincoln Park).  Check out their website (link below) for more information.



1 lb. linguine

2 shallots

2 cloves garlic

7 mushrooms, either crimini or baby portabello

1/4-1/3c peas

2-3 slices bacon (again I used Better-than-Bacon from C&D Farms)

1/2 pint heavy cream

1/2c sharp cheddar cheese, grated

salt & pepper to taste


A pan

A pot

A colander

How to Make:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Break linguine in half and throw in pot.  Cook until tender and then drain in colander, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.  I did this by placing the colander atop a ceramic bowl before transferring the pasta.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be 1 cup, but a 1:2 ratio to cream will help keep the pasta moist, especially if you’re reheating leftovers.  At the same time, cook the bacon in a separate pan and reserve the bacon grease.

Dice shallots, mince garlic, and slice mushrooms.  In the pot used to cook the pasta, pour in bacon grease and warm under medium-high heat.  Throw in shallots and garlic, and cook until shallots become transparent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sautee until mushrooms are fully cooked, stirring frequently.

Now add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.  Add the cheese, stir, and bring back to a boil.  Let the sauce simmer at least 5 minutes, stirring continuously and making sure the bottom of the pan isn’t burning.  Toss pasta and pasta water into pot.  Mix mix mix.  Crumble bacon and add to pasta.  Mix mix mix.  Season with salt and pepper to your desired liking.  Enjoy!