Recipes | Pasta with mushrooms, kosho and toasted parmesan rind


Pasta with mushrooms, kosho and toasted parmesan rind

This recipe is from a new book called Wasted by chef Conor Spacey which is published by the Irish publisher Blasta Books as part of a charmingly illustrated series of single subject books

I made a couple of changes to the ingredients and method when I road tested it but absolutely loved the recipe. (Maximumrespect to Conor for coming up with the best ever way to use parmesan rinds which is basically catnip for humans

Conor writes: It’s definitely not traditional, but I love to use kosho, a Japanese condiment (see recipe below) with pasta. Mushrooms and the crispy parmesan rind give it an extra umami boost.


20g parmesan rind

240g shop-bought fresh pasta - spaghetti is perfect for this. (I used 150g dried bucatini which was what I happened to have in the cupboard)

40g butter

a splash of rapeseed oil

160g mixed fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced

3 tsp kosho (see below)

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat your grill. Put the parmesan rinds on a baking tray, skin side up, and put the tray under your grill. Keep a close eye on them and wait until they start to bubble and colour, then remove them straightaway. Put them on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, chop the rinds into small cubes.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions but reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes to keep it al dente. When the pasta is cooked, keep a mugful of the cooking water from the pot before straining the pasta.

Put the pot that you used to cook the pasta back on the hob on a medium heat. Add the butter and a splash of rapeseed oil. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Stir in the kosho and the mugful of pasta water (I didn’t use that much - about 4 tbsp I’d guess) then add the drained pasta, stirring to make sure the pasta is all coated in the sauce.

Check the seasoning – the kosho is quite salty and spicy so I don’t add any salt throughout the cooking process, but you may like to season it to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the pasta between two wide, shallow bowls. Top with the toasted Parmesan rinds and chopped fresh coriander (I added the coriander to the mushrooms when I added the pasta)

KOSHO (see also my note below)

Kosho is a Japanese seasoning with a umami explosion. The word ‘kosho’ means ‘pepper’ in Japanese, referring to the chilli pepper it’s made with. Traditionally it’s made using yuzu, a citrus fruit found in East Asia that’s hard to get here, so I swap it out for lemons, limes or grapefruit. Once you make this and have it in your fridge, you’ll become addicted to it. Kosho is a great way to cut through the richness of many dishes, from meat to noodles and everything in between

To make kosho, halve 6 red chillies lengthways and remove the seeds. Cut them into chunks, put them in a blender or food processer and pulse until they are finely chopped. Zest the citrus fruit you need to use up (either 4 lemons, 3 oranges or 1 grapefruit) and add it to the blender or food processor. Pulse until it’s well mixed with the chillies, then add 16g flaky sea salt and pulse again until it forms a paste.

This is ready to use straightaway, but I like to put it into an airtight jar and leave it at room temperature for one week to slightly ferment and take on more flavour. Store the kosho in a sealed jar in your fridge, where it will keep for up to three months.

It’s not entirely clear from the illustration whether you should pare or grate the zest. Most recipes suggest equal quantities of chillies and citrus zest. I made about half the quantity suggested - 40g of each - and used a grapefruit, 3 limes and 5 limes so maybe paring it would be more economical though it would be harder to break down the citrus peel. Experiment anyway - it’s delicious. Oh, and my chillies were large ones not birds eye chillies which I think would be too hot!)

From WASTED by Conor Spacey (Blasta Books, £13) Illustrations: Nicky Hooper

What to drink: the pasta sauce is quite punchy and citrussy so am not sure it needs more citrus. A dry white wine like a Picpoul de Pinet or a pinot grigio would work best if you wanted a glass of wine though I drank a kombucha with it which was excellent.

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