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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Linguine With Lemon Garlic And Thyme Mushrooms

    Hi! I made the Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms the other day. The mushrooms tasted very good, but the pasta was a little dry and bland. Please correct me wherever I went wrong because I really found the recipe easy and simple. Thank you. :)

    From the nigella team:

    Nigella's Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website) is a very quick dish with a sauce made from raw ingredients. The sauce ingredients cook slightly in the heat of the drained pasta. The recipe requires the pasta to be "drained loosely" as the pasta cooking water clinging to the linguine will help to form a sauce with the other ingredients.

    We would first suggest that the pasta cooking water is salted generously. In Nigellissima Nigella mentions that it should be as "salty as the Mediterranean sea". Nigella also suggests that just before draining the pasta you should follow the Italian tradition of carefully scooping out a cupful of the pasta cooking water. The water is very useful as you can add a splash or two to any sauce-coated pasta if the dish looks too dry. For the linguine dish this is particularly important as the water forms part of the sauce. Keep adding he cooking water to the pasta and mushrooms, a splash at a time, until the pasta looks glossy and slightly moist, but doesn't have lots of liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes the pasta will absorb a surprising amount of the added cooking liquid.

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