Monday, 6 February 2012

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Pasta

I've always been under the impression that mushrooms were a bit of a cheat in vegetable terms. By this I mean they look a bit strange, a wee bit dull in colour and seem well, a bit meaningless. So my thinking was they can't be that good for you? Not as good as all the green stuff that's for sure. How wrong was I??!!

This fabulous website explains it all but I was very surprised to learn that:
  • Mushrooms are one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world, in the same league as the red pepper and spinach.
  • The dietary fibre in mushrooms also helps promote good bowel function and leaves you feeling more satisfied, so you won’t be hungry again as quickly.
  • Mushrooms are also extremely rich in protein, so are a great alternative protein source for vegetarians

Choosing some really good tasting mushrooms is essential for this dish, as the mushrooms need to add flavour and meatiness. I used a mix of oyster mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms and just a small amount of dried porcini to pack a mushroomy punch. 

But importantly, how to make a classic creamy pasta dish waistline friendly? I used low fat creme fraiche (WeightWatchers brand), lots of black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to enhance the flavour.  If I had some in my fridge I would have finished with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley but it was perfectly fine without it!

You'll need for 2:

  • Half a small onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Seasoning
  • 125g punnet of mixed oyster mushrooms
  • 150g of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 5-10g dried porcini mushrooms or dried wild mushrooms
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Cupful of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 200g pasta, penne or tagliatelle work well
  • Pinch of nutmeg

What to do:
  • In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, get the pasta on as per packet instructions
  • Pour some boiling water over the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and leave to soak
  • In a non-stick frying pan heat the oil and very slowly saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent
  • Meanwhile prepare the mushrooms by slicing the chestnut mushrooms. With the oyster mushrooms, just gently tear them length ways. Add the mushrooms to the onions and and turn up the heat to get a nice colour on them. Stir frequently. If it's a little dry add some of the stock. Cook for a few minutes until softened and nicely browned
  • Mix the cornflour with cold stock or cold water then add the stock bouillon / cube to the mug.
  • Add the stock / cornflour to the pan and stir well
  • Season well, especially adding lots of black pepper and add the nutmeg
  • Turn the heat down and add the drained dried mushrooms and a little of the water from soaking. Add as much of this as you like for your own personal taste. I find the flavour a little overpowering so I go easy on this part.
  • Turn the heat down or off and stir in the creme fraiche. It may split (as it's low fat, not double cream!) when cooked on a high heat so be careful at this point
  • Drain the pasta and add to the mushrooms along with the parsley and toss everything together
  • Serve with  a little Parmesan cheese
WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 12

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