As a food blogger, some things are difficult to photograph. I’m not talking about getting the right angle, struggling to get the best light or staging the perfect backdrop/setting for the photos. NO, some things are difficult to photograph because the temptation to devour them is so strong. The first time I attempted to photograph this dish, I snuck a mouthful or two of pasta before plating it. I took a couple of snaps, decided the light and setting just weren’t working and threw in the towel, or more honestly, the fork. ‘Meh…there is always tomorrow, so I’ll work on it then’. I ate a plateful of this pasta for lunch and packaged up the rest to try again the next day.
BUT…there it was. In the fridge, like a siren calling – “Hey there…come eat me…you know you want a face full of this…”
The temptation spread like a disease to others. Every time my husband went to the fridge to get a beer, there it was – shaking its delicious tits at him. ‘Ooooh! Pasta” he says in an ode to Homer Simpson when he first sees it. ‘That pasta looks GOOD!’ I heard him say in a pervy whisper the 2nd and 3rd time he visited the fridge. I started to worry. It wasn’t that I was jealous of the pasta for getting so much attention, it was because I was worried he would eat it before I could photograph and subsequently (selfishly?) devour it. I can’t blame him though. As food goes, this is quite a sexy dish. I can’t think of anything more decadent than fettuccine tossed in a rich sauce of mouthwatering garlic, rich marsala and smooth cream, mixed with mushrooms and chunks of salty pork belly. God damn…nothing is more seductive.
250g (4 cups) fettuccine
200g (7oz) shitake mushrooms (cleaned, stem removed and sliced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
200ml (a little under 7oz) cream
150g (5oz) bacon/pancetta/smoked pork belly
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
small handful fresh Italian parsley
120ml (4 oz) marsala wine
1 tbsp butter
Cook fettucine according to directions in a separate pot. Drain. Set aside.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add chopped pork belly/bacon/pancetta and let cook until slightly brown and the fat has started to crisp.
Add sliced mushrooms, toss together and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and darkened.
Next, add minced garlic and thyme and cook for a minute or so until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high/high and add Marsala wine.
Allow to bubble and reduce by half. Once the alcohol has cooked off, reduce heat to medium/medium-low, add cream and stir together. Let bubble on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until all flavors have married together.
Turn off heat, add cooked pasta and toss it together with the sauce and a handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate, topped with grated parmesan-regiano and dig in.