Cooking: Quick and easy Mushroom pasta

This has been a family favourite for years. My mum (a legendary cook) used it when we were kids, as a very quick, almost junk food type of dinner. A couple of years ago I introduced Biker Dude and the child to it and it became a firm favourite. You can ring the changes depending on what vegetables you have in. The ingredients given are particular favourites in our house.

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Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tin Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
350g pasta
1 courgette (finely chopped)
1 onion (finely chopped)
250g assorted mushrooms (finely chopped)
2 large garlic cloves (finely chopped or crushed)
4 rashes of bacon (grilled and finely chopped)
Oil (for frying)
150g of cheese (I use extra mature cheddar)

Method
In a large saucepan boil the pasta the way you normally would.

In a frying pan add a splash of oil and add the onion. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the courgette. Fry until the onions are translucent and the courgette is lightly coloured.

Add the mushrooms and fry until starting to brown. Then add the garlic.

Grill the bacon while the vegetables are finishing off. Pat dry and finely dice.

Drain off the pasta when done (keeping a little of the water in the pan). Add the soup and using a whisk, combine with the little water left in the pan until thoroughly combined.

Gradually add 3/4 of the cheese whisking all the time until melted in then stir in the vegetables and bacon. Add the pasta and mix thoroughly. Top with a little of the cheese.

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Another way to do this is to omit the soup as the sauce base and make a white sauce.  Melt a tbsp of butter and add to it a tbsp or so of plain flour. Using a whisk, thoroughly combine until you have a thick paste (a “roux”). Add 1/2 a pint of heated milk and thoroughly whisk in the roux. Then heat up in a pan continously whisking until the sauce has thickened. Don’t heat up too much or it will split.

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