Orecchiette with mushrooms, spinach & pecorino

Orecchiette with mushrooms, spinach & pecorino

The mushroom cream sauce is great folded through risotto towards the end of cooking. It is also terrific with other pastas such as spaghetti and fettuccine. This is a cracking dish with a salad, crusty bread and a good glass of wine.


  • 400 g (14 oz) good-quality dried orecchiette pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pecorino cheese, shaved
  • Small handful baby rocket (arugula) leaves, to garnish

  • Mushroom cream sauce
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) olive oil
  • 20 g (¾ oz) unsalted butter
  • 100 g (3½ oz) French shallots (eschalots), thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 250 g (9 oz) button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry white wine
  • 10 g (¼ oz) dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 50 ml (1½ fl oz) hot water, thoroughly rinsed, finely chopped
  • 450 ml (16 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
  • 1 bunch English spinach, leaves washed and chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, drain, then toss through some olive oil. Set aside.

For the sauce, heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan over low heat and cook the shallots until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme and button mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have softened and the liquid has reduced. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

Add the porcini mushrooms and stock and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir through the cream and spinach and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and check the seasoning.

Serve the sauce on top of the pasta with a good sprinkle of the pecorino, a grind of black pepper and garnished with the rocket leaves.

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  • Serves 8
  • 2 hours 30 minutes