It looks like we are settling in for another wet few days. There is always a silver lining and at the moment the bonus is the abundant availability of wild mushrooms.
Fortunately for me we have a local provider who’s idea of a fun time is to set out into bush land and forage for all types of edible fungi. You do need to have absolute faith in your provider or have done a lot of research yourself if you collect your own. As much as I would love to try foraging I would struggle to differentiate between the edible and the deadly. So for the moment until I educate myself further I will rely on the professionals to bring me my bounty.
Two varieties commonly found in Victoria: Slippery Jack – a delicate and moist morsel that is often associated with the porcini (one of my absolute favourites). You can even blanch for 4-5 minutes in boiling water and freeze if you find you have an abundance and cannot use them all within the ideal 5 days. Personally I find this particular variety rather slimy, making it a little off putting as you prepare it.
Pine Mushrooms or as the proper name Saffron Milk Cups – a robust variety that holds its shape and is deliciously meaty. A longer cooking time is required. I have wasted a number of purchases, assuming the green tinge was a sign of being old and decaying, finally I asked the question and it is actually bruising from where they have been handled and are perfectly good to eat.
My recipe today is very simple but oh so tasty.
Prepare you mushrooms with a damp cloth to remove dirt and pine needles, do not immerse them in water this will affect the flavour. Remove any bits that might look unpalatable and the stems of the pine variety
Fettucine Al Fungi
- Mushrooms – Ive used a mixture of slippery jack and pine chopped into smallish pieces
- Pure cream (about 100 mls per person)
- Small shallot or onion chopped finely – you want the flavour not onion chunks
- Parsley chopped
- Butter and/or olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dry or fresh Fettucine – you will need to adjust the cooking times accordingly
- Parmesan Cheese
- Put the salted water for the pasta on to boil first
- Once the pasta is in the pot (Ive used dry pasta) begin the sauce. This is working on the theory of the pasta taking about 10 minutes. For me the ideal cooking time for the sauce
- Heat a frying pan with butter and/or oil add the finely chopped shallot- I often use both butter and oil as the butter has a wonderful flavour that marries well with mushrooms and the oil saves the butter from burning. Keep the shallot moving until translucent do not allow to brown
- Add the chopped mushrooms: pine first as they do require extra time and after about 3 minutes add the slippery jack
- Saute the mushrooms until cooked to your liking
- Add some finely chopped parsley but saving some to add at the end also. The addition of parsley really freshens up the dish
- Take the mushrooms of the heat, once it is ‘off the boil’ add the cream. It is important to allow the mushrooms to come of the peak heat in order to not split the cream. Split cream will do no harm but isn’t quite as attractive.
- This is not an overly ‘wet’ sauce but if you prefer you can add extra of water from the pasta. Remember the mushrooms are the heroes of this dish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drain the pasta and add it to the frypan containing the sauce off the heat. I always add a tablespoon of the pasta water, the starch in the water tends to bring it all together.
- Add parmesan cheese – about a tablespoon per person through the pasta and sauce.
Serve, adding some finely chopped parsley and extra parmesan to taste0