A good friend of mine loves food puns. She doesn't even like normal puns that much. Just food puns. And I realised, while I was making this dish, that it happens to contain two ingredients that frequently feature in her puns. Puns that I've heard numerous times. I'll hear her familiar voice in my ear whenever I'm slicing a mushroom “ain't mushroom for more of them is there” followed by “I'm know I'm hilarious, you don't have to tell me, I'm just such a fun guy”. I'll receive a text later about how the elderly Italian chef 'pastaway'. *Groan*.

Anyway, to the matter at hand. The idea for this dish came from the sauce. Nuno Mendes, head chef at celebrity hot-spot the Chiltern Firehouse, wrote a seabass recipe that my non-vegan friend made. I tried the (vegan) sauce and was astonished: a block of silken tofu, a splash of soy sauce and some olive oil magically combine to make a super creamy, rich dressing. It tastes as if it's based on gallons of fatty dairy product. Nope – it's literally about 90% silken tofu.

And that's not the first time I've come across this magical ingredient. It can be used to make so many things, sweet or savoury, from chocolate silk pie and cheesecake to omelettes. Plus, it comes in cardboard packages as it's long life! I really like this silken tofu, and use it for this recipe.

I used mushrooms here as they go well with the hint of soy sauce, and frozen peas for their vibrant fresh flavour. Oh yeah, spaghetti will be absolutely fine instead of linguine – I just prefer linguine for its thicker strands. During my recipe tests, it occurred to me that when salting the pasta water, I was being very approximate and just throwing some salt in without taking into account the volume of water or amount of pasta... very unlike me! I found a cool experiment that finds the perfect amount of salt per litre, so the amount of salt here should be perfect.

Serve into warm bowls and season generously with black pepper. Enjoy!

Creamy Mushroom Linguine

Serves 4
Hands-on time:
20 mins
Hands-off time:
20 mins


  for the sauce:
1 350g (12oz) pack silken tofu (I use this brand). US equivalent.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
tbsp soy sauce
  for the mushrooms:
400g (=12oz) chesnut mushrooms, thickly sliced. (Button mushrooms will work too).
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
180g (=1½ cups) frozen peas
½ a lemon, juice of
  for the pasta:
1 tbsp fine sea salt or table salt
320g dried linguine (spaghetti will work too)


  1. To make the sauce, put the tofu, soy sauce and extra-virgin olive oil into a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or casserole dish saute the mushrooms over a medium/med-high heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the pasta, bring 2 litres of water to the boil with the salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water, reduce to a low simmer, and cook until just below al dente (around 8-10 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water to stop it cooking.
  4. Add the garlic to the mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes. Then add the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta to the mushrooms and peas and stir through until everything is hot. Pour the sauce all over and stir through thoroughly.
  6. Add the lemon juice and season with pepper to taste.
  7. Serve in warm bowls and enjoy.