Preparation time: ~25 minutes
Calories: ~725 per serving
Greetings everyone. Do you know what today is? Well, it’s the 25th of May for one thing, so “Happy Birthday” to my dear mother! Aside from that though… well, it’s friday of course, which can only mean one thing… weekend! A long weekend in fact for me. I have Monday off as someone is coming over to repair the refrigerator door. I have sufficiently recovered from the culinary mess that was last weekend and I’m gearing up for the coming days and looking to the future. As of this moment, I don’t actually know quite what I’ll be making on the weekend. I’ve got a few ideas – some healthy, some not so much, so I guess we’ll see what wins through on that front and you’ll be able to see for yourselves on Monday!
I’ve got some news as well – back last november, when I was celebrating my blog’s 1-year anniversary, I remember asking myself what more could I do? I think a desire to adapt is very important, especially with blogging where you can easily risk feeling burned out from taking it too seriously – it’s supposed to be fun after all! I started last year by publishing photos of my adventures. Being able to speak about things I see and do, sharing my other interests, while still keeping the blog centred primarily around food brought me a great deal of pleasure. In addition to that, I’ve now decided to do two new things on my blog here:
Firstly, every month I see awesome things – I read a lot of food blogs in my spare time and I see wonderful recipes. I feel like I want to share them with people I know. Sure, I could just “Pin” them on Pinterest, but where’s the fun in that? Nope, I’m going be keeping an eye out for delectable little morsels which fit the general theme of my site – food for under €5 – and once a month I’m going to pick out a handful of these and write a little bit about just why I think they’re so great and why you really should have made them already!
Secondly, we’re probably all here because we love food, right? And what do so many food lovers adore? Well, I don’t think I’m alone in loving recipe books – they’re bedtime reading for me. For the longest time I had 3 cookery books and a book on food styling and photography on my bed-side table. I’ve got some wonderful recipe books, chock full of all sorts of beautiful dishes – healthy, gut-busting, frugal, extravagant, homely, exotic – I figured it might be nice to share my bookshelf with you a bit too, so I’m going to be writing about a recipe book once a month as well.
I have another change as well, but I’m keeping that under wraps for now – all in good time my dears, all in good time!
On to today’s recipe though! Do you remember my rain-soaked canal trip a few weeks ago? Well, shortly before boarding the boat I told you all that we had a rather satisfying lunch in a boat-shaped restaurant next to the canal. It was actually one of the best simple pasta dishes I’ve had in my life. Fast and simple to prepare, filling and packed with flavour – absolutely delicious! The dish was penne with cep sauce and let me tell you, there weren’t any leftovers on my plate that day! I had to fend my wife off, who, having ordered a seafood pasta dish took one bite of mine and immediately regretted her order. That’s not to say her lunch wasn’t nice too… it was great, but this one was just that good!
I’ve been trying to reproduce this (you’d think it would be easy since it’s so few ingredients… apparently it’s not!) at home, and while I can get “approximations” I can’t quite get it spot on. This is my closest effort so far, and actually, with the olive oil drizzled on top, the grated parmesan and the basil chiffonade it’s actually got a whole faintly pesto-like thing going on which is a delicious backing to the fantastic mushroom flavour so I really recommend giving this a try!
Oh, incidentally – one of the reasons I love writing up these posts is because it forces me to find the “English” name for things. You may think this sounds strange, but many names in French cannot quickly be translated to English; well, I have difficulties with it at least! My main source is Wikipedia – the problem with things like fish and mushrooms is, if I search for something “simple” here, like a fish which I can buy easily in a store, called “Lieu Noir”… I can find a lovely French Wikipedia page for this, but when clicking on the “English” link down the page, I get this – “Pollachius virens” – rrrright, thanks! Anyway, I stuggled a bit at first to find the ideal translations for the mushrooms I used, but eventually got the right terms, and learned something new too. The first mushroom, the chanterelle, is actually also occasionally called by its French name, girolle. The second one, the cep, is actually a porcini mushroom – I never knew this before!
Anyway, enough nattering – have a fabulous weekend everyone, and enjoy the recipe!
Penne with Chanterelle and Cep Sauce
- 400g Penne pasta
- 10g Dried Chanterelle/Girolle Mushrooms (or handful of fresh)
- 15g Dried Cep/Porcini Mushrooms (or handful of fresh)
- ~5 medium Button Mushrooms
- 1 Red Onion
- 3 tbsps Olive Oil + little extra to drizzle on top after serving
- ~30cl Crème Fraiche
- Parmesan for garnishing
- ~4-5 fresh Basil leaves
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- If using dried mushrooms, start off by rehydrating them. While different brands may suggest different methods, a common way is to place them into warm water for 15 minutes, stirring gently every 5 minutes or so. While the mushrooms rehydrate, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and, when boiling, pour the pasta into the pan. Cook for the length required according to personal taste and while the pasta is cooking peel and chop the onion finely. Set aside for now and then chop the button mushrooms finely. Finally, once they have been rehydrated, chop the chanterelles and ceps well too. Around this point, the pasta should be ready – drain it and transfer it to a large heat-proof bowl or pan. Cover and set aside while we prepare the rest of the dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add in the onion. Fry gently, stirring well, until softened and then add in the chopped mushrooms as well as a few good twists of salt. Fry the mushrooms through until turning a delicious golden brown. Pour the onions and mushrooms directly into the pasta in the pan and stir well. Spoon in the crème fraiche and stir once again.
- Serve into bowls and grate parmesan cheese liberally over the top. Roll the basil leaves up tightly along their length and, using a sharp knife, cut the basil very finely to create a chiffonade. Sprinkle over the top before finally grinding some black pepper over and drizzle on some olive oil before enjoying!