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Wild Mushroom Linguine with Chanterelles and Arugula | Sortachef

Wild Mushroom Linguine with Chanterelles and Arugula

I left the trail to scrabble through waist high ferns, pushing aside pesky branches as I climbed. A hundred feet up the tangle gave way to a sparse grove studded here and there with massive stumps from old growth trees long gone. These giants of the landscape – each one the size of a small house – stood in quiet tribute to a forest that once was.

Down on the ground, the duff is cushion-like and scuffs easily. Its very softness is why I’m here: under this airy layer of pine needles, decaying wood, leaves and soft mosses is where the mushrooms are. I walk carefully, peering at every crevice on the forest floor that might be the leading edge of a mushroom cap.

And then on the far side of a fallen log I saw the tell-tale glint of creamy orange. Five ears pushed at the duff, straining together toward filtered sunlight. With a bit of careful lifting on my part and a few well-placed swipes of my trusty knife I soon had them freed. It was a sight to behold: five fat chanterelles, the first of the season, pale and lovely on the forest floor.

As I lifted my sack and wandered off into the forest, my heart lightened with anticipation. Oh, yeah, I said to myself. There’s going to be feasting at Chez Bullhog tonight!

Wild Mushroom Linguine with Chanterelles and Arugula

 

Makes 3-4 servings

6 ounces fresh chanterelles, brushed clean

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered

Half of a medium onion, coarsely diced

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Tablespoon of butter

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon of dried porcini mushroom, broken into bits

¾ cup boiling water

1 Tablespoon of flour

10 ounces fresh linguine, cooked and drained

2 cups of arugula

¼ cup of grated Parmesan (optional)

 

  1. Break chanterelles into 1 inch pieces and into segments for the larger mushroom heads. Sauté half a chopped onion in a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter until translucent, about 5 minutes over medium heat, and then add the chanterelle pieces. Turn the heat to low and add the quartered cremini mushrooms. Gently sauté for a further 5 minutes or more, until the mushrooms are cooked through but not flabby. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the porcini pieces and let stew in a ramekin or coffee cup for 15-20 minutes. This will yield a heady ‘tea’. After steeping, remove any mushroom pieces that feel hard and add the soft bits to the sautéed mushrooms, but save the liquid.
  3. In a second ramekin or coffee cup, mix a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of hot mushroom tea. Add small amounts of the tea, stirring all the time to keep it lump-free, until you have added it all.
  4. Bring sufficient water to a boil and cook 10 ounces of fresh linguine according to package directions.
  5. Three minutes before the pasta is finished, bring the mushrooms back to a simmer and add the enhanced mushroom tea to the pan. Stir constantly until the mushroom mixture is bubbly and the sauce thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Divide the pasta among 3 or 4 bowls, sprinkle on a little olive oil and top each with a handful of arugula. Put portions of mushrooms and sauce directly onto the arugula, top with parmesan if desired, and bring piping hot to the table. Yum!

Mushroom Sense: For those in the know, chanterelles are relatively easy to identify. Before you head out to find your own, however, it’s recommended that you take a mushroom hunting class. Here in Seattle, you can contact the Puget Sound Mycological Association for info.

First of the season: Five fresh chanterelles

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At Woodfiredkitchen.com, Sortachef takes you on adventures in the kitchen and beyond, with tales to suit. Many of his offerings are woodfired - a flaming good recipe for pizza, bread, or something different. All recipes are original and tasty. Enjoy!
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