It sounds unattractive to describe this as a budget meal but without the extra refinements of dried porcini mushrooms and a few rashers of pancetta, it costs about £2 to feed two, possibly three, extremely well.
Those extras do bolster flavour but a few more mushrooms finely chopped like the porcini, will intensify the mushroom strength and the pancetta is more about texture than taste. The finely sliced fresh mushrooms create their own juices, seasoned with a hint of chilli and lemon, then tossed with quickly boiled potato gnocchi (a useful larder stand-by), finished with masses of flat-leaf parsley. Good textures and flavours lifted by a garnish of crisp pancetta. A crisp salad is good with this.
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
15g dried porcini/wild mushrooms
3 rashers pancetta
½ tbsp olive oil
300g closed cap mushrooms
½ tsp chilli flakes
500g potato gnocchi
50g flat-leaf parsley
Boil the kettle. Pour 200ml water over the dried mushrooms, cover and leave for 10 min. Cut the pancetta in 4 and fry crisp in 10g butter and oil in a spacious frying pan. Scoop onto kitchen paper. Add the finely chopped onion, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until soft and golden. Meanwhile wipe and thinly slice the mushrooms. Drain and finely chop the dried mushrooms, reserving the water. Stir chopped mushrooms and soaking water into the onions with the chilli. Simmer briskly until juicy rather than wet. Add remaining 10g butter and sliced mushrooms, stirring until the mushrooms darken and produce juice. Add lemon juice, pepper and salt. Use the remaining boiling water to cook the gnocchi; when done they rise to the surface. Drain and stir into the mushrooms. Stir in chopped parsley, plenty of grated Parmesan, adding crumbled pancetta.