Sunday, 24 August 2014

Magic Mushroom Pasta!

Linguini con Finferli, Pancetta & Rosmarino
Linguini with Chanterelles, Bacon & Rosemary

If in doubt- make pasta!
That's a rule you can apply to almost any kitchen dilemma or quandary! When you are stuck for ideas or not of sure how to make the most of any given ingredient, you can place a safe bet on being able to whip up something terrific with pasta in the equation!

This evening, I had the wonderful chanterelle mushrooms that I picked up at the indoor market yesterday... it is our luck that at least these treasures are in season- what with the awful weather we have been having! So, with just these lovely mushrooms and a little inspiration... and a handful of linguini, I performed this magic trick! And I shall share the secret of it with you right here and right now!


There is a handful of chopped bacon in here and a splash of regular milk- but other than that, no other added fat, oil, butter or cream and still a whole lot of strong and delicious flavor. And that has GOT to be a good thing!


Ok- get your hands ready... I had 1 handful of finely chopped bacon, 1 small handful of pasta and 2 handfuls of chanterelles. When I say 1 handful of pasta, I mean this- put the tip of your forefinger together with the tip of your thumb and take a little less than the amount that will fit into the "o" that you have just formed. That is the "rule of thumb" regarding how much you should be eating. With the mushrooms, I took 2 handfuls. Otherwise, I needed a couple of Spring onions, some fresh rosemary and parsley and very litlle to make this wonderful meal!


The best thing about it is that the mushrooms are easily ready in the time that it takes for the pasta to cook, making this a quick and easy dish as well as it being a delicious one!


Not much prep-work to be done either, other than finely slicing the onions and halving the mushrooms. This is a good idea for 2 reasons- 1.) because they will cook more quickly and 2.) because you can then be sure that there are no "critters" inside them- which can happen with this kind of woodland mushroom, much more so than those cultivated, supermarket type mushrooms.


So- your pasta is already boiling and you have just got the bacon beginning to sizzle with a little rosemary- this is the flavor base of this dish and already, once you have these in your frying pan- the kitchen comes to life with a wonderful aroma already!


After a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms and season with plenty of pepper and nutmeg. Toss, stir and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes more.


Keep the heat up high, keep the mushrooms moving and soon they will look something like this! Mmm!


This will have taken around 8-10 minutes in all so far, so by now the pasta will also be ready and ready to drain. In the meantime add the onion and carry on stirring!


After 2-3 minutes of stirring, the onions will also be nicely cooked and you can now add the pasta, a good pinch of finely chopped parsley and about half a cup of milk. This will go to deglaze the pan, pick up all of those good, rendered flavors of the mushrooms herbs, bacon and onion and cook them into the pasta... and of course that nutmeg, which really comes back to life now!


Continue cooking away until the milk has cooked into the pasta and basically cooked away, leaving everything juicy and delicious... who needs a sauce when this works so much better?


All of the goodness of all of the ingredients, combined and concentrated into one delicious dish! Who could possibly ask for more? No one really! Well- unless they are asking for a second helping- which may well happen!


Just lovely! That's all!

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