Cooking Tips

Make like Jamie Oliver and Grate Mushrooms on Your Pasta

It adds a truffle-like flavor to your favorite pastas.

Published July 8, 2021.

British chef and TV personality Jamie Oliver is known for his approachable cooking as well his oddball choice of words when in the kitchen. In one breath, he will tell you to bang it (mix it), chuck it (add it), and will describe a particularly good dish as “pukka” or  “lovely jubbly” (I’m not really sure what this means, but it makes me slightly uncomfortable). 

But behind the showmanship and quirky words, Oliver has real nuggets of kitchen wisdom. Take, for example, a technique from his latest cookbook, 7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week (2020), where he instructs cooks to grate a mushroom on a rasp-style grater along with the cheese when making cacio e pepe.

The result, he says, “will be nutty and fresh with flavor.” I decided to give it a go.

After making a riff on America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for cacio e pepe (I subbed in linguine for spaghetti, sorry not sorry), I gave the pasta a good lashing of fungi. Or at least, I tried to. 

Whilst Oliver’s photo depicts mushroom shavings falling in delicate ribbons from the grater, mine fell in moist brown plops. Though disquieting, I forged on, mixing the brown bits into the cheesy pasta until they were indistinguishable from the flecks of pepper.

The result was not altogether beautiful, but what it lacked in aesthetics it made up for in flavor: almost truffle-y mushroom specks melded with the sharp Pecorino Romano and the cracking bite of black pepper for a forkful of pasta that was, dare I say, better than the original iteration. 

For all his “lovely jubblies” and “pukkas,” Jamie Oliver is onto something.

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