What beautiful weather we’ve had this weekend! I’m sure the dose of sunshine was just what we all needed. If you've enjoyed an outing to any of the parks around Melbourne lately, you may have noticed lots of people out foraging for mushrooms. In regional Victoria, we’ve spotted cars parked by the roadside between Daylesford and Geelong, and people wandering around with their bags full of pine mushrooms (also known as saffron milk-caps or Lactarius deliciosus). These are modern-day treasure hunters!
A word of warning though - wild mushroom foraging is only for the experienced. Most novices cannot tell which mushrooms are safe to eat or which mushrooms are poisonous – and this can be a deadly guess if you don’t know what you’re doing. But, even if we can’t pick them ourselves, the rest of us can still enjoy a variety of delicious mushrooms from our local greengrocer. The current bumper Victorian mushroom season means fresh mushrooms and good prices!
There is no better way to enjoy fresh mushrooms than in this delightful autumn mushroom pasta dish. We’ve used oyster mushrooms as our store had some locally-grown beauties. But pine mushrooms would be perfect too, or even morel or shitake varieties.
Autumn Mushroom Tagliatelle
Serves 2. Ready in around 20 minutes.
300g fresh durum tagliatelle pasta
250-280g fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons pine nuts
50-60g quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (or flat-leafed parsley)
Pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
Pinch of cracked black pepper
1. Prepare a generous-sized pot of salted water for the pasta. Fresh pasta likes lots of room to move!
2. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake and stir frequently, until golden brown (5 to 7 minutes). Transfer them to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Maria’s fresh tagliatelle takes approximately 3-4 minutes to cook until al-dente.
4. Heat the skillet to medium-high and melt the butter in the pan, then add the mushrooms and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until softly browned.
5. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the skillet. Toss well to soak up all that buttery-mushroom goodness! Season with cracked black pepper and chilli flakes.
6. Transfer to a serving dish and toss in the toasted pine nuts, generously shaved cheese and chives. Eat immediately and enjoy!
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