Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mellow Yellow

Spaghetti ai Finferli con Fagiolini 
Spaghetti with Chanterelles and Green Beans

With this crazy, up again- down again Summer weather, it is no wonder that the rains are bringing out the yummiest of the mushrooms right now, the deliciously tasty Chanterelles! Now, I know that may sound like a 60's female vocal group, but it just happens to be the name of one of the most flavorful of all mushrooms- and such a beautiful yellow coloring they have too!

Of course, there has to be a slight downside to this extreme yumminess- and that is, in this case, that the Chanterelles are very time consuming to clean. They are, I think, one of the few mushrooms that does grow on the ground still nowadays, rather than on polythene sacks like all the rest of them. So, grab an old toothbrush or a handful of kitchen roll and start brushing those little devils into shape... it isn't easy or fun but the resulting flavor explosion is well worthwhile! Please don't wash them unless it is truly necessary! It is always best to keep mushrooms dry, as they will otherwise become waterlogged and have a slimey consistency- as well as a much depleted aroma. With regular mushrooms, it is much easier to take a small paring- knife and to peel away the outer layer of skin. Of course, with these little beauties that's hardly possible- so brush or wipe away what you can and give them a quick in-and-out bath to remove the rest.

So- having the Chanterelles taken care of, let's get busy!

Boil the spaghetti in a mix of half water and half milk to give it a creamier flavor but the minimum in calories. I like that little trick of mine! Whilst the pasta is boiling, in a Teflon frying pan, start out by frying a handful  of pancetta or bacon until it exudes its fat and begins to gain color. Now add the mushrooms, a little finely chopped shallot, a little garlic- and a good amount of heat!

After about 5 minutes cook-time for the spaghetti, add to the boiling water a good handful of beans and allow them to cook for the remaining 2-3 minutes.

As soon as the pasta is ready, drain it off and add it to the mushrooms, along with a generous grating of nutmeg, a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and go call everybody... dinner can be served!

Grind generously with red chili flakes and serve with a chilled white wine and there you have it... a delicious, light and easy meal that is guaranteed to please!

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