Traditionally, on Valentines Days gone by, I would knock up a pan of tagliatelle with a slow-cooked chilli and tomato sauce, hand torn basil and parsley, a few finely chopped olives and two lobsters from Leigh Fishermans Co-op nestled on top… I’d carry my big, faithful copper-bottomed sauté pan into the dining room, hand over a fork, and begin, following it with a huge glass dish of mussels in butter, garlic, Madeira and cream, and home made bread to soak it up with. This year, of course, no such extravagance… Firstly, I’m not about to schlep out for a lobster for myself – and secondly, well, I think I can do better than that…


I called this headrush spaghetti, because that’s exactly what happened when I tried it. The pungent intensity of the dried mushrooms, that garlic hit, and the lingering sweetness from the white chocolate… Oh my. It’s 11am here and I’m devouring the lot as I type…

Headrush spaghetti with dried mushrooms, white chocolate and cream.

Ingredients (per person):

100g spaghetti
100g mushrooms, dried
2 garlic cloves
20g white chocolate
1 tbsp oil
50ml cream
Fresh parsley, to serve
Hard strong cheese, to serve

Drying mushrooms deeply intensifies their flavour, and I buy them from the reduced chiller when I find them – all varieties – and pop them on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes at 180C, or until crisp. They should snap like a cracker when cool. If 40 minutes in the oven sounds a lot – make a batch of Easy Peasy Soda Bread or Love Soup at the same time, or both…

When your mushrooms have dried out, allow them to cool and store in a clean airtight jar. I’ve had mine for around 6 months now in a Kilner jar , and they’re still good.

To make dinner…

Pop a pan of water onto the boil, and add your pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer gently for 8 minutes, or until cooked.

To make the sauce, first pound the mushrooms to break them down. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a pair of kitchen scissors and a teacup, or a rolling pin (or empty bottle as equivalent) on a chopping board or work surface. Or fling them in a blender. Just do what you have to to crush them down a bit…

Cheat-roast the garlic: pop it into a bowl or onto a saucer, rub a little oil into the papery skins, and put in the microwave for 30 seconds on a high heat. Squash the sweet garlic pulp from the skins into the dried mushrooms, and add the cream and white chocolate.

Toss through the pasta with the oil, and serve in a heap with fresh torn parsley and finely grated hard strong cheese scattered on top.

You’re welcome.

Do you want to know what’s for dessert?

Jack. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe



  1. They could have done with this recipe as inspiration on ‘The Taste’ last night – the challenge was to create a savoury dish using chocolate.The blue cheese tartlet with coco pastry won, but it was the best of a bad bunch – chocolate caponata anyone?

  2. I’ve never thought about drying my own mushrooms. And how easy is it? That’s definitely what I’ll be doing when I have a mushroom glut at the bottom of the fridge.

    BTW, it’s not often I disagree with anything you write, but it have to take issue with the following:

    “firstly, I’m not about to schlep out for a lobster for myself”. Eating solo does not make you underserving of glorious and indulgent food. However, by the looks of this recipe, you aren’t really missing out!

  3. for Dessert?
    raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake?
    white chocolate cheesecake?
    white chocolate and mint something? cheesecake maybe?
    sorry – I’m currently experiencing acute lack of any cheesecake action… but I don’t really mention it (much) xx

  4. Do you melt the chocolate into the cream and then add that to the garlic/mushroom oil mixture before putting it all on the pasta? That’s a good tip about mushrooms, sometimes I have bought to many and they have started to go soft, would it still be ok to dry them at that point or do I need to catch them before any softness happens? Thank you!

  5. What a good idea with the mushrooms. We normally buy mushrooms and for a week everything is with mushrooms, which becomes a bit boring. Must try that. 🙂

  6. That is a GREAT tip about drying the shrooms! I always buy marked-down when I see them (which is rarely), and then eat them morning, noon , and night til they’re gone. Next time I will dry at least some of them. Thank you!!

  7. Yet another killer-diller veggie recipe to feed my recently-converted student offspring — many thanks!
    It’s a pain trying to think up new stuff when we’re not veggies ourselves, and (decent) inexpensive recipes are few and far between – that there mushrump trick is brilliant!

  8. Well, thanks Jack! Made this (sort of) tonight. I couldn’t get mushrooms so used tinned, I had leftover chorizo so chucked that in and only had dried parsley but, guess what?
    It was delish!! Keep ’em coming 🙂

  9. You really need to slather the garlic skin in oil or it will go on fire on the microwave… I wish I could say only one speedy roasted garlic mayo ended in a kitchen filled with smoke.

  10. That’s a brilliant tip about drying mushrooms. I buy the huge value punnets of chestnut mushrooms from Asda, and although all three of us like them, a lot of the time, I have to throw some out. Next time I’m going to dry them!

  11. So do the mushrooms get sliced before drying?
    And can you chuck the dried ones into things whole or would that make them chewy and weird?
    Book arrived today, loving it 🙂

  12. Made this for dinner tonight thinking all the different ingredients there is Noway it will work but knowing its jack and she knows her stuff. It tasted fantastic I can’t even put into Words how good it was hubby loved it as well he can’t wait to have it again. Thank you jack x

  13. Dried mushroom idea is great but i have a range cooker so tend to use my slow cooker more to save on electric. Flung them in my slow cooker a wee while ago and they’re perfectly dried mushrooms for me to make the headrush spaghetti tomorrow. Tomatoes are next on the agenda!

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