Hello, enormous darlings!
I begin this tale with a miniature story, which shall lead into a caveat. First, the story: Yesterday afternoon, a dear friend gave me a little “surprise and delight” moment when he appeared on my doorstep holding a basket of chanterelle mushrooms the size of footballs. Apparently, he had foraged them just the day before. (Side note: The things that happen when you live in the mountains! Never have I ever had a basket of…well, anything delivered to my door.)
Now, the caveat – and this is important: Said friend is both a professional chef and a certified forager who specializes in, yes, chanterelles. Please do not ever, ever eat foraged mushrooms unless they have been procured for you in the aforementioned extremely precise circumstances. Chanterelles can be expensive, but the best way to get your hands on some is to wait until they pop up at your local farmer’s market, and then go to town knowing you’re eating what you think you’re eating, and not a thing that you really don’t want to be eating.
So. The first thing you should know is that I had no real plan for what to do with my newly-acquired monster fungi – save for giving them a basic saute in butter/garlic/etc (which I also absolutely did; YUM). But this seemed like too good of an opportunity not to try a couple of improvisational (ramshackle!) new recipes.
The first? Pasta, because I was starving and needed to be eating within fifteen minutes.
This recipe? Fifteen minutes. Maybe less, depending on your pasta selection. (For your reference, I checked out this recipe, this recipe, and this recipe while trying to figure out what flavors to combine, but wasn’t super psyched about any of them…so I ended sort of mashing them together into something that sounded delicious to me. But I’m sure they’re all great options!)
Anyway. Let’s go!
TAGLIATELLE WITH CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS, SHALLOTS & FRESH HERBS (serves 2, luxuriously)
What You Need:
- About a cup of fresh chanterelle mushrooms, prepared* and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 c pecorino or parmesan cheese (or a mixture)
- 1/4 c white wine
- 1/4 c chicken broth
- Splash of cream
- A big pinch chopped herbs, plus more for serving (I currently have thyme, parsley and basil in my garden, so that’s what went in)
What You Do:
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions, reserving some pasta water (try to time this so that the pasta finishes cooking right when the mushroom sauce is done)
- In a large saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil and a spoonful of butter. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms start to look a little wilted.
- Add the shallots, season again, and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 30 seconds.
- Add the white wine to the pan and let reduce, then add the chicken broth and do the same.
- Add the herbs, cream, and most of the cheese (reserve a little for serving), turn down the heat, and let simmer. If you need to loosen the sauce, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.
- When the pasta’s done, pour it into the saute pan with the sauce and toss well to coat.
- Serve by plating some pasta and then spooning the mushrooms and sauce over the top (plus a sprinkle of parsley).
HOW TO PREPARE CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS
Here’s how you prepare the mushrooms, by the way:
- They’ll probably already have been rinsed by the time they reach your hands, but if not go ahead and rinse them gently.
- Cut off the bottom 1″ of the stem, as well as the little loose flaps all around the diameter of the cap.
- Then take a sharp knife and use the point to gently skim off the fins (this, apparently, is something you want to do with portobellos as well), to keep the mushroom from getting waterlogged.
The more you know!