Something happens when you don't watch much TV - you remain clueless about people and things that the world is well versed in. I had heard of Nigella Lawson. I had gathered she was some sort of seductive cook? That she was famous for wrapping her lips around spoons for photographs.
What did I know? I have been amazed since I joined this group of dedicated bloggers working their way through Gourmet's Fifty Women Game-Changers in Food. I have been sequestered in my corner of the Italian cooking world and have paid little mind to new chefs, new faces and current "stars" in the cooking sphere.
Lawson was born to a wealthy and influential family (her father was a Chancellor in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet and her mother was an heiress, a socialite and renown beauty). The family moved a lot during Lawson's teen years and Lawson got into trouble at many of her schools.
"I was difficult, disruptive, good at school work but rude, I suspect and high-strung, she noted.
She did go on to graduate from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford with a degree in medieval and modern languages. There were many curves and detours to the career she has now. I won't list it all but you can find her biography here. Today, she is noted for her cookbooks How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess (among her many) as well as her TV Series Nigella Bites. Compared to Delia Smith, Lawson's cookbooks were noted for being accessible, chatty and a bit cheeky - a definite change from the more matronly approach favored by the current British cooking icon!
I seem to be back with the mushrooms. This is the 3rd time in a row that I've chosen a mushroom recipe from the Gourmet Game-Changers! I am either in an earthy phase or a spore phase. At least I don't dream about them. Apparently, that is bad news.
I was interested in this dish because - more so than ever - my days call for ease and this had it. And it was noted that it could be dressed up for dinner with protein additions (shrimp, tofu, chicken) and except for the pasta - nothing else needed to be cooked! The mushrooms cook in the marinade. As another Gourmet Game Changer notes often, "How easy is that?"
I used it as a side dish because I have been known to eat my weight in pasta when it is the main deal. More so now that I am writing about the North Pole. I come down to dinner cold and in need of carbohydrates as if I spent hours on the ice (I wouldn't last five minutes - or maybe I would last if pasta was promised at the end of the day!)
Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms - serves 6 as a side dish in a nomrla home and 4 in mine
(I changed amounts, find the original recipe here.)
16 ounces chestnut mushrooms - thinly sliced (I used a mix)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt (I used sea salt)
1 garlic clove minced (I used more)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (I used more)
3/4 pound linguine
3/4 cup fresh, minced Italian parsley
2-3 tablespoons freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I always use more)
freshly ground pepper - to taste
Combine first 6 ingredients. (I whisked the lemon juice into the olive oil first). I did this in the morning to allow the mushrooms to marinate and "cook." Lawson does this as she puts the water for the pasta on - do it as you choose. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain saving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Toss with the mushrooms mixture adding pasta water if it seems dry. Add the parsley and toss again. Add - or serve separately - the cheese and ground pepper. Serve.
You may of course skip the cheese and go vegan (but please not that I would never, ever skip a chance to play with Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is part of my DNA).
Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 44 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey.
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds,
Linda A - There and Back Again,