gordon’s pasta

Crappy name, sorry about that. But we’ve never settled on a better name for this heavenly and wholesome dish, that not only celebrates the ingredients in it, but is an absolute triumph of speed and economy. I found it via Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food: Recipes from The F Word, hence the name.

Five ingredients – that’s all you need – pancetta, leeks, chestnut mushrooms, creme fraiche, conchiglie or shell pasta (I’ve tried all shapes and shells are the best).

Get some pasta going in boiling water. Two tips here: make sure the water is at “the rolling boil” and going great guns. Secondly, always salt the water. How much? The best advice I heard was “twice as much as you think you need” which never fails me. The pancetta starts off in a medium-heat big saucepan, and once slightly crispy, leeks go in. When tender, mushrooms, then a couple of minutes later a small tub of creme fraiche is added while the heat goes down. Season up now and have a taste. As there’s not a lot of cooking going on it’s going to need good seasoning to bring the flavours out. By now the pasta should be done (al dente please) so drain that and add a splash of cooking water and the shells to the mix and toss together.

That’s it. Honestly. For perfection I add a dash of chopped parsley, but it’s such a celebration of each of its parts it’s really difficult to get wrong. Salty pancetta, tangy leeks, meaty mushrooms and a tart creamy finish, all cupped in a little pasta shell. Brilliant.

“Gordon’s pasta”:

200g conchiglie pasta

2 medium leeks, washed and sliced

75g diced pancetta

250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

300ml creme fraiche

Bunch of parsley, finely chopped

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  2. Fry the pancetta in a hot pan with some oil until starting to crisp.
  3. Add the leeks and fry until tender.
  4. Add the mushrooms and fry until softened. Season.
  5. Lower the heat, add the creme fraiche and stir through.
  6. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water, then add the shells. Stir thoroughly.
  7. Check for seasoning, serve into bowls and top with parsley.


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