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Si Mangia

Cacio e Pepe with Mushrooms

Matt Collins is a private chef specializing in unique dinners and pop-ups. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Collins is based in Asbury Park and has used a vibrant Instagram page - @chefcollinsevents - to help build his business. You can see more of his food, and learn about booking options, at his website, chefcollinsevents.com.

Ingredients
1 lb of pasta
1 lb of mixed mushrooms
3 Tbsp butter
Sprigs of thyme
Grated parmesan
Oil - Grapeseed, avocado or canola
Salt & pepper
Sichuan peppercorns

First steps
Heat the oil of your choice to high heat with a sprig of thyme. Add in the mushrooms, but don't move the pan around too much; allow the 'shrooms to caramelize and sear.

Deglaze the pan with wine or sherry. This is optional, but enhances the flavor. Remove cooked mushrooms and put to the side.

Up next
Boil the pasta. Then, slowly melt 3 tablespoons of butter with some pasta water in the pan. If the butter is bubbling, add a little more water. Once emulsified, add about 1 tablespoon of ground black or Sichuan peppercorn.

Finishing
Add grated parmesan to the sauce. The cheese will help it thicken.

Mix the pasta and mushrooms into the sauce until well combined and serve. 

Local chef Matt Collins puts his own spin on the trendy pasta dish, adding mushrooms to the cheesy and peppery plate.

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