You’re familiar by now with the four primary tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. But there’s another one you may not know as well called umami (pronounced oo-MAH-mee). It’s actually the fifth basic taste thanks to certain chemicals like glutamate and guanylate that occur naturally in food.  Mushrooms happen to be one of those lucky foods that take on a broth-like or meaty flavor. The taste also comes in handy for preparing healthy dishes. “Because umami flavor is so robust, it allows you to use less salt when cooking,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health‘s contributing nutrition editor.

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INGREDIENTS

mixed mushrooms

butter

garlic

white wine

parsley

spinach

chives

parmesan cheese

cream

tagliatelle

sea salt and ground black pepper

METHOD

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt and tagliatelle.  Cook until al dente.

To make the mushrooms sauce; slice the mushrooms so that the pieces are roughly the same size.  Heat half the butter in a large saute pan;  add the garlic and cook for 1 minute without allowing it to colour.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.  Pour in the wine and let the alcohol evaporate.  Add cream and spinach; stir to combine and take off the heat.

Add the pasta to the pan containing the mushrooms and toss together.  Stir in the rest of the butter, add the parsley and chives.  Add a bit of pasta water if you think that the sauce is too dry.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

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