I gave the veggies a pass (it's a long way from Mexico for runner beans!), but I bought eggs, bread, double cream, linguine and pene pasta, risotto and Thai rice, a tub of cubed pancetta, 3 tins of chopped tomatoes and a tub of natural yogurt. It all came to 35 euro, which felt a little dear. The staff were really nice and helpful and when I pointed out to the manager that I would have preferred to see more Irish produce in the shelves, he took the point really well and said they try to stock as much Irish as possible but sometimes seasonality presents a problem.
I suppose he was right, we don't eat seasonal any more, it's sort of a lost skill at this point. We're so spoiled with choice: bananas from Mexico, ginger from Peru, Pears from Argentina, Avocados from Israel, Peppers form Spain, tomatoes from Italy, that we don't really stop and think about what's in season any more. Anyways, I paid for my stuff and although a little sore in the pocket, I went home with the happy thought of a romantic Friday night in with my other half. I made Linguinni with mushrooms in Gouda Cheese sauce; although the sauce is not precisely friendly in the aul calorie-intake department, it is absolutely gorgeous and worth a long walk the following day. To accompany the pasta, I defrosted some of the black olive bread (bought in the market on Saturday) and had goat's milk ice-cream with goat's milk caramel sauce on top (sinful); the movie was entertaining and the evening went really well, so here's the recipe, enjoy.
Start by preparing the water for the pasta. Fill a deep pot with fresh water, add the spring of rosemary, the bay leaf and the salt and turn on the heat to medium. Cover the pot and let it heat gradually while you get on with making the sauce. Real pasta cooks very quickly so we always heat the water first and put the pasta in at the last minute or else you'll have cold, soggy pasta by the time you have the sauce ready.
Heat the olive oil and the butter in a non-stick pan at medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic, onion, chili, pancetta and mushrooms and cook until the pancetta starts is crispy. Pour the wine and stir well. Let the wine coat everything and be absorbed.
Check the pasta water at this point and if its boiling, add the pasta to it. Cook it uncovered as per manufacturer's instructions.
Get back to the mushroom & pancetta mixture by now the wine should be well absorbed. Bring the heat to low and add the cream, milk and Gouda Cheese. Stir occasionally while this gently cooks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce goes too thick, pour a little more milk into it. This sauce tends to thicken as it cools down, so leave it a bit runny if possible.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Take off the heat and mix gently. Serve it piping hot.
I had to re-shoot this recipe recently as the photo I initially took was shockingly poor! So I used a wonderful Irish Gouda style cheese called Coolea, made in Macroom in Co. Cork. I thought it made the sauce gorgeously buttery, so if you can get your hands on some of it do, I bought mine in Sheriddan's Cheese Mongers. The cheese is beautiful and you'll be supporting Irish producers.