This recipe is a rustic and wonderfully simple dish. It is a long-loved favorite for my vegetarian housemates, who love the earthiness of the chestnut mushrooms fried in garlic and the creamy and cheesy crème fraîche sauce, this dish is quintessential comfort-food. Make sure the Parmigiano-Reggiano you are using is definitely vegetarian as many contain animal rennet. This dish is all about timing, as if the egg-sauce cooks to much it will turn into unpleasant scrambled eggs (not what we want) so read the instructions carefully.
400g of dried linguine or spaghetti (I always purchase De Cecco for quality)
4 large free-range eggs
3 tbsp of crème fraîche
200g of frozen peas
200g of vegetarian Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated with extra to serve
1 small knob of butter
250g of chesnut mushrooms, sliced chunkily (they have SO much more flavor than button or closed-cup!)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a squeeze of lemon juice
Start by preparing your sauce. In a small to medium-sized bowl, add your eggs and begin to whisk them until they turn into a yellow-liquid with bubbles. Next, add your spoonfuls of crème fraîche and mix together. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the mixture and then whisk more so that the sauce is light and airy. Leave to the side for later.
Place your pasta in a pan of boiling salted water and cook as per instructions.
Once the pasta has about 5 mins until cooked, heat up the butter in a small frying pan. Once hot add the garlic and the mushrooms, sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms until cooked, then turn off the heat.
Once the pasta has about 2 mins until cooked, add your frozen peas to the water. This will initially slow the cooking process down as the frozen peas will reduce the temperature of the water. As the peas begin to soften and brighten in color, re-heat your mushrooms. The mushrooms need to be hot as their heat, combined with that of the freshly-cooked pasta will work to cook your egg sauce.
Turn off the heat and drain the pasta and peas with a colander, then place back in the pan (do NOT turn the heat on). Add the mushrooms to the pan and drizzle over the sauce slowly. Quickly fold the sauce into the pasta, and you should see that the egg sauce will thicken, change color and cook in the heat provided by the pan and other ingredients.
Serve with more salt and pepper and a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.