Lovely Linguini

This dish is pure luxury; rich, creamy and utterly indulgent. A couple of years ago, my boyfriend and I went on a fabulous cruise around the Mediterranean – this is what I ate on the first night, all dressed up in a beautiful restaurant, and it was heavenly.

8oz of linguini (or spaghetti)
60g mushrooms – go for a mixture, if you can
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
60ml white wine
120ml vegetable stock
175ml double cream
Grated parmesan
1 tsp truffle oil
1 tbsp flour
Olive oil

Serves between 2 and 4, depending on how hungry you are (adjust the pasta quantities as needed).

First of all, a quick note – truffle oil can be expensive, so don’t let that put you off making this. Either leave it out, or you can do what I do and buy olive oil infused with truffle – the flavour’s nowhere near as intense, but it still does the job and it’s much cheaper.

Peel and dice the onion as finely as possible, then melt a knob of butter in a saucepan with a splash of olive oil, and get the onion sizzling gently – you want it to soften and go translucent, rather than turn brown. Chop the garlic finely and add that. While it’s all sizzling and smelling good, slice the mushrooms thinly. Melt a little more butter and olive oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms gently until they start to darken in colour and release liquid, then scoop them out into a bowl, set to one side, and pour the remaining liquid into the pan with the onion. Add the flour and white wine and get it bubbling so that it starts to ‘reduce’ – this means that the water is evaporating and making the sauce thicker. Once it’s reduced by half, add the vegetable stock, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Simmer this sauce for about ten minutes. While it’s simmering, boil your pasta. Finally, add the mushrooms, a good sprinkle of thyme (fresh, if you can get it), plenty of parmesan and a splash of truffle oil. Once the mushrooms have heated through again, drain the pasta and stir it through the sauce. Serve up generous platefuls topped with fresh parmesan, and washed down with glass of crisp white wine – gorgeous.