Another thing that I’ve put off in my life is learning to forage for wild mushrooms without killing myself and my family. Maybe chanterelles I could safely identify, but do they have a menacing cousin? That’s the tricky part. I hope to eventually check this one off my list, but for now I depend on the Farmer’s Market to fill the need for fresh wild shrooms and dried ones for the pantry. I use the dried version as an ingredient in soups and risotto. Their broth is nectar that, as a culinary sidekick, is unbeatable. I’m serious. Nectar of the forest.
In the meantime, fresh mushrooms are available at Farmer’s Markets. Last week I found chanterelles and made a creamy sauce for pasta. Easy and a teensy bit decadent, the mushrooms prevail and it’s perfect autumnal-winter comfort food.
I followed Langdon Cook’s (Fat of the Land) recipe, sort of. Omitted the bacon and peas – mind you, I love both ingredients, but didn’t have them available – used a different pasta and a little less cream perhaps. No matter. As with many recipes, use it as a guide and then make it your own. I started with the butter and shallots and proceeded from there. This came together quickly and was delicious. Very mushroomy. Thanks Langdon. I think it’s fair to assume that a person could use a variety of fresh mushrooms for this dish.
If you’re interested in local, seasonal, forageable, and then stories and recipes to go with, Fat of the Land is your go to blog. Langdon is an accomplished forager, cook and writer.
Creamy Chanterelle Pasta Recipe
Ingredients: 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter/ 4 ounces thick, quality bacon (4 slices), diced/ 1 to 2 shallots, finely chopped/ 1 pound shaped pasta, such as bow-ties/ 1 pound fresh chanterelles, roughly chopped/ Salt and ground pepper to taste/ 1 pint heavy cream (or less)/ 4 ounces garden peas, fresh or frozen/ 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, with more for table.
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Do not drain the fat. As bacon begins to crisp, add shallots and cook until tender. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, and add pasta.
Add chanterelles to the skillet and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have released their water. Season with salt and pepper. While the chanterelles are cooking down, put the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and half the cream in a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Place the bowl in the warm oven.
Slowly add the remaining cream to the skillet and simmer, continuing to stir occasionally while pasta cooks. When pasta is nearly done, add peas to the chanterelle sauce. Remove pasta from heat, drain, and add to warm mixing bowl. Mix the sauce with the additional butter and cream. Add the grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
Another of Langdon’s chanterelle recipes, published recently: Steak and Chanterelle Stroganoff. Haven’t tried it. I bet it’s good.