My landlady from university kindly gave me a joyously received bowl of this one day, after I had walked the three and a half miles back from campus to where we lived. I had never eaten basil pesto before (didn’t even know what it was) and I was absolutely blown away. She generously proffered the recipe and although I have adapted the quantities and method slightly, it is essentially the same meal. I have literally made this dish hundreds of times as it has proved popular with almost anyone I have served it to – men, women and children. It’s especially good if you can get your hands on some fresh pesto and fresh pasta, but I normally make it with dried pasta and pesto from a jar and it’s still excellent.


The Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 600 grams mushrooms, sliced or if small cut in half
  • 250 grams organic or free-range bacon roughly chopped into strips
  • One 190 gram jar basil pesto
  • 500 grams dried pasta - I've used wholewheat fusili. If you want to use fresh pasta just remember that your cooking time will be greatly reduced,
  • Half a generous teacup double cream.
  • Salt, Pepper and Parmesan to serve.

Serves 4 adults generously if served alone or 6 or more people if served with a fresh salad or some steamed spinach.

Put a large pan of water on to boil for your pasta and cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet.  Meanwhile, in a large pan (I’ve used a big wok – see pic) fry the onions in the oil over a moderate heat for about 5-10 minutes until they are soft. Add the bacon and cook gently for about five minutes. Add the mushrooms and the pesto at the same time, stir well to combine the ingredients and continue to cook for another five or so minutes. When the mushrooms are cooked, stir in the cream.  Drain your pasta and add to the other ingredients in the pan. Give everything a really good stir and serve. Our children especially like to have a good sprinkling of parmesan on this.

Pasta with basil pesto, mushrooms and bacon.