Chanterelle mushrooms with simple pasta are the best dish of the autumn. Even better if you’ve foraged the chanterelles yourself!
Where to find wild mushrooms?
Without a shadow of doubt, the best thing about the end of summer is the appearance of wild mushrooms. The fortunate foragers on the continent can relish several varieties of milkcaps, penny buns, slippery jacks and even truffles.
In the UK we’re happy to get hold of Scottish chanterelles as, frankly, the funghi that grow sparsely in the rest of the island wouldn’t earn a second glance from a European forager.
At least we have chanterelles!
I have been spending a small fortune on chanterelles this autumn – as rarities, they fetch a suitable price – since I discovered Smithy, an online mushroom supplier. A box of 500g makes at least one gorgeous lunch of chanterelles on toast for the two of us, and one divine side dish for dinner.
How to prepare chanterelles?
There’s no fuss with chanterelles: you don’t wash them lest they become soggy, just brush any dirt, sand or pine needles off with a soft brush or a paper towel; trim the stalk if necessary and fry the ‘shrooms gently in a little butter.
Chanterelles with pasta
You can also make a centrepiece of a meal with your sunny chanterelles if you dress pasta with sautéed chanterelles and a little Parmesan. In the truly Italian style where less is more in pasta sauces, nothing else is needed for a wonderful feast.
My love of bad puns and all word play forced me to pick pappardelle for my dish: pappardelle con chanterelle (imagine an Italian chef sing-songing it) or pappardelles aux chanterelles (that’s a snooty French maitre-d’ chefsplaining what you’ve ordered). I know, lame, indulge me.
But bad jokes aside, pappardelle is a dream pasta shape for the light dressing of fragrant mushrooms; morsels of chanterelles and gratings of cheese will cling to the wide strands very nicely. If you like, you can add cream of course and turn it into a rich dish that kids will adore but I delight in wild mushrooms so much I want to taste them cooked as simply as possible.