Spaghetti with bacon, mushrooms and Parmesan

Serves 4-6

This is more or less a carbonara, but mention mushrooms to some kids and their little faces will screw up in disgust. If, on the other hand, you chop the mushrooms into a creamy, cheesy sauce, they will go down unnoticed most of the time – just make sure your kids don't read these food pages...


4-6 servings of spaghetti

1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped

60-80g thick-cut streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/2 cm cubes

A couple of good knobs of butter

150-200g button or oyster mushrooms, cut into small dice

250g mascarpone

200ml double cream

2-3tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1tbsp chopped chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently cook the onion and bacon in the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft, stirring every so often, add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes with a lid on, stirring occasionally. Add the mascarpone, cream and Parmesan, season, bring to the boil and simmer for about 6-7 minutes until the sauce thickens to a coating consistency. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to manufacturer's instructions then drain in a colander. Add the chives to the sauce and toss with the pasta and re-season if necessary. Serve in warm bowls and let the kids help themselves to extra Parmesan.

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