Wild Mushroom Pappadelle

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: easy

‘…You just need good ingredients to make this work, then follow Dad’s recipe for the moresome sauce.’

Pete
'A priceless Italian combination. This kind of meal is well within Dad’s comfort zone. We’re all mopping up the sauce with bread and left queuing up for more….'

What you need

250g ceps

250g chanterelle mushrooms

250g field mushrooms

10g dried ceps (porcini) (optional)

2 large banana shallots

2 sticks of celery

2 garlic cloves

25g butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 bay leaves

Small sprig of thyme

4 black peppercorns

500ml chicken stock

125ml white wine (optional)

250g dried egg pappardelle

Handful of chopped parsley



Dad's Recipe Tales

I looked through my Italian cookery books and could not find a single recipe for a sauté of wild mushrooms with pasta.

There are many sautés of wild mushrooms for serving as a side with game – and there are wild mushroom risottos. So this must mean my recipe is original! Well, hardly… It’s fried mushrooms on a carbohydrate – it might as well be mushrooms on toast!

I do not normally assume wild or exotic mushrooms are very affordable and I therefore tend to stick with the bog standard field varieties. However, Kingston market has a stall that sells fancy mushrooms and these are always good value. So this is quite an affordable meal. If one has access to some local woods and the knowledge to pick one’s own then it would be almost free. It is also vegetarian. I could very easily have added bacon or pancetta – or chicken livers or beef with some cream and tarragon for a stroganoff type affair. But stick with this recipe. It demonstrates that mushrooms and a flavoursome stock carry enough umami for meat not to be missed.

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Prepare the mushrooms – use a stiff pastry brush to remove any dirt from the mushrooms. I put them in a coarse sieve and shook them – still more dirt came off. (See hint on mushrooms).
  2. Slice all the mushrooms – not too thin and small – there should be visible examples of mushrooms in the final dish.
  3. Heat four litres of water in a large pan and add tablespoon of salt.
  4. Put the stock in another pan together with the bay, thyme, peppercorns and wine – bring to a rolling boil and reduce by half.
  5. Finely chop the shallots, celery, garlic, and sweat in a large frying/ sauté pan or wok on a medium high heat to start then reduce to medium low – stirring all the time. When the shallots have sweated turn up the heat and add the mushroom – stir fry for 3- 5 minutes. When the mushrooms have released their moisture and are starting to colour, add a cup of stock to the pan and let it absorb into the mushrooms. Add all but a small garnish of parsley, stir, put on a lid and take off the heat – but keep warm.
  6. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Take a cup of the water from the pasta and drain the pappardelle, and then put the pasta straight into the mushroom pan. Toss and stir the pasta – adding a little more stock to loosen the pasta – put the lid back on and let it rest for a minute or two. (If the pasta is still dry use the pasta water to loosen further.)
  7. Check the seasoning, add a squeeze of lemon if necessary.
  8. Serve with green vegetables or salad and crusty bread. Garnish with parsley.

Notes:
You do not need to use wine – but it this dish may need some acidy along the way – perhaps just a squeeze of lemon at the end. The dried ceps are for adding flavour to the stock. I do not use the reconstituted mushrooms themselves as most of the flavour will have gone into the stock. I try to build flavour into the stock to help give some depth to the dish. One could also put in a teaspoon of aged balsamic vinegar, or sherry vinegar, or mushroom ketchup, or Madeira or port – these will all add some extra flavour as well as some extra depth of colour.

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