This is a favourite mid week/Friday night supper dish, perfect for when you’re tired and want something quick and fairly easy to rustle up that doesn’t skimp on flavour or comfort 🙂  I think it must have started off as a Carbonara, but time (and bad influences!) have morphed it into the boozy creamy pasta it is today that probably shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as carbonara for fear of offending any passing Italians… But what this dish does have in common with Carbonara is that the sauce should coat the spaghetti and no more, rather than be something the pasta is swimming in.

What I really love about the sauce is how the wine gives it a slightly zingy note that really compliments the slight tang in the creme fraiche.  For all that I call this a “boozy” sauce, it should be the flavour you taste rather than the alcohol.

And if you’re feeling particularly lazy (and who doesn’t mid week) you can sub cubed pancetta for strips, but I do think the strips work better.  Streaky bacon also works if you can’t get pancetta strips, or if you just prefer bacon.

Spaghetti in a Boozy, Creamy, Pancetta & Mushroom Sauce
Serves 4
Wine, creme fraiche, pancetta - what more incentive do you need?
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
You’ll need
  1. 1 medium white onion, diced
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1/2 pack of mushrooms, diced (I prefer chestnut, and sometimes use the entire pack rather than just half...)
  4. 1 packet of pancetta strips
  5. Small glass or miniature bottle (18.75cl) white wine (or buy a normal bottle of white wine, and drink the rest!)
  6. 2 generous tablespoons of half fat creme fraiche
  7. Olive oil for cooking
  8. 1/2 pack of spaghetti
  9. Parmesan cheese
  10. Salt and pepper to season
  11. Parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat some oil in the frying pan and cook off the onions and garlic on a medium heat until the onions start to look transparent.
  2. Add the mushrooms (you might need to add a little more oil if it starts to get a bit dry) and once they’ve cooked down too, remove the lot to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add a little more olive oil and turn the heat up to high. Once the oil is heated up, throw in the pancetta. I don’t like my pancetta crispy for this dish but that’s a personal thing, so cook your pancetta to suit and once it’s how you like it add the onion, garlic and mushrooms back into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and then give it all a good stir.
  4. Now add the wine. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium and leave it to simmer for five minutes.
  5. In the meantime, bring a large saucepan of salted water up to boil and once the five minutes is up drop your spaghetti in and cook per the packet instructions. This should give the wine in your sauce another ten minutes to reduce right down – you really don’t want there to be much wine/liquid left, just the lovely lovely flavour of it.
  6. That said, don’t reduce it away completely! If after ten minutes there’s still a lot of liquid, turn the heat up and until there’s around 2 tablespoons worth of liquid in the pan.
  7. This is when I usually grate up (or should that be grate down?) a very very generous amount of parmesan. It really is a component of the dish rather than a garnish, so don’t be shy. And I’d rather have too much of it than too little.
  8. Just before your spaghetti is ready, stir the creme freche into the pancetta, mushroom and onions and warm through.
  9. When your spaghetti is ready, drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water just in case, before adding it to the frying pan along with the grated parmesan.
  10. Toss everything in the pan so that the spaghetti is coated with the sauce and melting parmesan. If it all gets a little claggy, add some of the reserved cooking water which should sort that right out.
  11. Grind some black pepper over it, garnish with a little chopped parsley if you have any to hand, and dish up!
  12. Delicious with a little home made garlic bread on the side 🙂 NOM!