Part of the #CravingsChallenge – 52 recipes from Chrissy Teigen’s ‘Cravings Cookbook’. 52 amateurish attempts.
Creamy mushroom soup and a plate of lemony spaghetti? Someone knows the way to my heart! So I recruited the help of my two younger sisters, Jetaime and Title, who are much better at cooking than I am. The three of us have attempted many dishes together in the past – brownies (do brownies count as ‘dishes?!’), Thai food, an omelette – but this might be our most challenging attempt yet. Fancy chunky mushroom soup? Check! Fancy pasta called ‘cacio e pepe’? Check!
First, we decided to cook the pasta before tackling the mushroom soup. We were pretty excited about the pasta, as you can probably tell from this picture of Title:
While the pasta was boiling in the pot, we set to work on preparing the mushrooms, onions and thyme for the soup. There was a short debate on the correct way to cut up the mushrooms, especially since the cookbook said they must be “finely-chopped”. Jetaime was the only one who could do the fancy chopping thing (you know the one). Title and I, however, just cut up the mushrooms as best we could without any fancy technique whatsoever.
Then, it was butter in the big giant pot and the onions. The smell was incredible.
After a while, we put in the mushrooms. The book clearly states that we need 3 pounds of it, but we had no measuring scales so we just decided to wing it. I basically looked at the mushrooms in the supermarket, put a bunch of them in my trolley, and thought, “Oh! This looks like 3 pounds!” After we cut them up, it looked like we had an endless supply of the thing. But because mushrooms lose a lot of water when cooking, we affirmed ourselves that we were on the right track. Hopefully.
After a bit of seasoning with salt and pepper, we waited for the mushrooms to shrink. Then, it was the store-bought chicken broth (Campbell, because it was the only brand they had at the supermarket).
We followed the recipe as best we could. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for 20 minutes. It might have been longer than 20 minutes, but no harm was done! Then, we blended half the soup in a food processor and then stirred it back into the pot.
We did a bit more seasoning with some chicken broth, salt and pepper, before serving the entire thing in a giant soup bowl. It was as promised; the soup is super chunky, super creamy and super mushroom-y! I could no longer go back to the days of creamy mushroom soup from the Sizzler salad bar! No offence to Sizzler, obviously.
With this heavenly concoction, I just wonder how much Chrissy Teigen has to exercise in order to stay in shape. Look at the thing!!
Then, it was time for our ultimate challenge: the fancy Italian pasta that made John Legend and Chrissy Teigen fall in love with each other. Okay, technically, I’m sure it wasn’t just the pasta, but ‘The Pasta John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Ate When They Fell In Love’ doesn’t sound as good as ‘The Pasta That Made John Legend and Chrissy Teigan Fall In Love’.
First, we had to take care of the parmesan cheese. Lots and lots of parm.
Next, it was the bacon. The glorious, glorious bacon.
The cookbook says that we need to heat the bacon until crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. We, however, heated it for nearly 20-30 minutes. I blame the electric stove! We could have panicked, but the smell of the bacon kept us calm. Bacon has healing powers. I totally believe that. Someone should do a study.
Olive oil, garlic (!!!), red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cook until even more fragrant. Then, it was the 1/4 cup of lemon juice. I am a sucker for anything lemon-related – lemonade, lemon cakes, lemon tarts, lemon ice cream – the list goes on and on. Combining two of my favourite things, lemons and bacon, was the highlight of my dull and dreary week.
Afterwards, it was the pasta. BOOM!
Then, the parm. Toss. Toss. Toss. Well, toss as best as you can. We were rubbish at tossing. It is harder than it looks!
Then, arugula. There’s no arugula at my local supermarket. After some googling, arugula is supposed to be similar to rocket – you know, the only vegetable in a salad that people actually enjoy? So, rocket it was. Toss. Toss. And toss some more.
Do some final seasoning and then serve with parm.
I’m happy to say that the final outcome is amazing, especially when accompanied by the mushroom soup. It was just the right amount of spicy and lemony, and when coupled with the rocket and the crispy bacon, I can totally understand why people fall in love over this thing.
However, I tried making this pasta again without my sisters’ help. Twice, I failed! It is not as easy as it looks! The lessons I’ve learnt here are that the pasta and bacon must be dry, parmesan cheese is the secret to everything, and that it is always important to keep your sisters close.
Photographs by my sister Jetaime. You can check out her baked goods at @mudhouse.official