Pappardelle with Chanterelles

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In August, cardboard boxes appear on the fruit and vegetable stalls of Stockholm, stacked high with mountains of beautiful, yellow, flared mushrooms: Chanterelles (Kantareller in Swedish, and often Girolles in Britain.) Later in the season, at the beginning of the autumn, they’re joined by a darker, spindlier (and slightly cheaper) variation, the Trattkanterell or Winter Mushroom.

IMG_0835It always feels like a tremendous treat seeing these seasonal marvels arrive in such quantity, not in specialist shops or upmarket food halls, but bog standard market stalls, there for everyone to enjoy. Of course, a real Swede will have their secret spot in the woods where a patch grows, and I frequently see people emerging from the woods by our house with small bags full but, try as I might, however dirty I’m willing to get my hands and knees, I’ve never managed to find any. I’ve only been here for three years though, so I don’t give myself a hard time about it.

I feel like such a fleeting, beautiful thing should be rated simply, with just a few complementary flavours, so it has the chance to shine out and imbue the whole plate with its own deliciousness.

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In this recipe, cream, garlic, parsley and butter act as a bed for those delicious, forest-smelling flavours, and wide ribbons of pasta mop it all up expertly.

This recipe will feed four with a salad, but feel free to scale up and down at will.

If you’re making this out of season, you can always use dried mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water for about half an hour and added after the onions and garlic are cooked.

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You will need:

  • 300g of Chanterelles, Trattchanterelles, or any other wild mushroom (this recipe will also work fine with cultivated mushrooms, it just wont be quite so special)
  • A large knob of butter
  • One large or two regular shallots, very finely chopped
  • Five cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200ml double cream
  • A small bunch of flatleaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
  • 320g Dried Pappardelle

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First, prepare the mushrooms. Don’t even think of washing them, simply brush what remains of the forest floor from each with a small, soft brush (usually a pastry brush, in the kitchen of a non-forager), splitting any large ones in half by pulling them apart.

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Put them in a large pan over a high-ish heat. They will release quite a lot of liquid, which you should boil off. Push them around gently with a spatula, removing the mushrooms once the bottom of the pan is dry.

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Throw in the butter, til it begins to foam, turn down the heat to low and add the shallots and garlic. Cook them very gently for a good 10-20 minutes, til they’re little but a translucent goo at the bottom of the pan, adding a little more butter if the pan becomes too dry.

In the meantime, boil a very large pot of water, and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Probably something in the order of 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

When the onions and garlic are cooked, return the mushrooms to the pan and turn the heat up to medium low. Stir them gently for a few moments and add the cream. Bring just to a simmer, season to taste (probably a fair bit), then stir in the parsley.

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Add the pasta to the sauce, toss well, and serve alongside a crunchy green salad, sharply dressed with something like THIS, and a chilled glass of wine, or a very cold Italian lager.

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We’re a good way into the season now, so make this before it’s too late!

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