Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn Gold

Spaghetti con i Finferli & Ciliegini
Spaghetti with Chanterelles & Cherry Tomatoes

When it comes to making great pasta dishes- the rule is always to take it easy... and make it easy! Don't stress and fuss and make convoluted, complicated dishes- just put tasty ingredients together and let them speak for themselves!

This simple dish was made in just 20 minutes... well- after washing those pesky, gritty, bothersome but beautiful chanterelle mushrooms that is! But they are sooo worth the trouble- and actually- it is no real trouble at all!

This must be the first time that I have ever combined mushrooms with tomatoes in the same dish... but I have to say that the result was so much tastier than I expected! Of course, I prepared them separately, but brought them together, combined with pasta and herbs and a new friendship was born!


For 1 generous plate of wonderful pasta, I needed 2 handfuls of chanterelles, a handful or so of cherry tomatoes, 1 shallot, 1 sprig of rosemary, a little fresh parsley and of course spaghetti. The way I measure how much spaghetti to use is by touching my index-finger and thumb together and taking the quantity that fits into that "o" that they form... apparently that amount will be correct proportionally for each of us. I can't remember which doctor it was that told be that- but it's a pretty good and easy method to use I reckon!


Simple but still elegant enough to offer guests at a dinner party... and of course perfect at this time of year when they are in season and affordable! You have to love that mellow yellow!


Ok- cleaning the chanterelles takes 4-5 minutes- but it is hardly as daunting or as hard work as people always make out! The way to do it is to simply swill them around in plenty of water, push them to one side of the sink, or your bowl, then let the water drain away and take all of the sand and grit with it. Repeat this 3 times and take a look... your mushrooms are lovely and clean- it really does happen all by itself. Let them drip dry before using for at least 30 minutes on some kind of rack or failing that in a sieve, where the water can drain away... simple!

Otherwise- cut the shallot in 2 and cut one half into thin strips and the other into a fine dice. Finely chop the stalks of the parsley and cut the cherry tomatoes in half... done that? Good! Then you are ready to begin!

Put that pot on the boil and start the pasta boiling-by the time that spaghetti is cooked you will have taken care of the rest!


Put the chanterelles into a frying pan, dry and let them cook down, give off their juices (which you can pour away) and then dry out a little, before adding the half of the shallot that you cut into slices and plenty of rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of olive oil and toss them together until they begin to turn golden brown.


In another small pan, fry the finely diced shallot together with the chopped parsley stalk until they begin to turn brown and then add the cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook them down at a high temperature until they are soft and beginning to caramelize a little... mmm! That's plenty of great flavor! You can also add a little garlic if you prefer.


After 7-8 minutes or so, drain the spaghetti, add it to the tomatoes and grate generously with nutmeg. Add the parsley leaves, finely chopped, plenty of pepper and a nice glug of olive oil and toss together over a hot stove for 2-3 minutes until the pasta begins to take on the color and flavor of the tomatoes.


Serve with the golden and definitely delicious chanterelles on top- Parmesan if you so wish and a last sprinkle of pepper... and quite simply... enjoy!


Such a wonderful flavor from the slightly caramelized shallot and the crispy rosemary- a perfect complement to the mild flavor of the chanterelles and the gentle nutmeg flavor... delicious!


And the spaghetti, with its gentle sheen of olive oil and tomato is so grateful for the company- like I said... they really went surprisingly well together!


Yup! This is another dish that I will be making again- and I hope you will be too!

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