Weekday Vegetarian: Pasta with Chanterelles
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I went to my local farmers' market last Saturday for the first time in weeks. I was so happy to see fresh chanterelles still available. They are so expensive that I only buy them once or twice a year as a treat, but I think they are worth it. Often I don't do anything more complicated with them than sautee them and have them on toast, but last night I was feeling like something a bit more elaborate .I sauteed the chanterelles separately and set them aside and then made a simple cream sauce. I didn't want to cook the mushrooms in the sauce because they can get a bit mushy and I really wanted them to stand out. Even though I used half and half (10% cream), the meal turned out to be quite rich, so a little went a long way, but it was quite delicious. I also used some vegetable stock, just to increase the amount of sauce without using more cream. If you can't get chanterelles, then substitute any other wild mushrooms you have access to.
Pasta with Chanterelles
2 tbsp butter
1/2 lb fresh chanterelles, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup half and half cream
salt and pepper to taste
cooked pasta for two
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. In a large skillet melt half of the butter over medium heat and add chanterelles and the sprigs of thyme. Reduce the heat and cook until most of the water released by the mushrooms is gone and they are almost tender. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
2. Return skillet to heat and add the rest of the butter. Place the flour right at the edge of the skillet and incorporate it into the butter a bit at a time using a wooden spoon. Once it is all incorporated slowly whisk in the vegetable stock, stirring constantly. If you pour the stock in too quickly the flour will form lumps which you won't be able to get out. Once this is smooth add the cream, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once your pasta is cooked add it to the skillet with the sauce and stir to coat. Place pasta in serving bowls and spoon chanterelles on top. Add grated Parmesan cheese, if using.