I guess we’ve always had a weakness for chestnuts, but at the beginning of this winter it got a bit out of control. For days I roasted, boiled, steamed and peeled stacks of chestnuts. It was around December, at what time they reach their peak season, and I wanted to make the most out of this fact. It was also when for few days in a row we had chestnut soup, followed by creamed cabbage with bacon and chestnuts, followed by chocolate and chestnuts truffles. Time and time again… As a result we now have a good batch of semi-cooked and peeled chestnuts in the freezer, and of course a post about How to buy, store and cook chestnuts.
Alongside the frozen chestnuts, we also have a bag of frozen porcini mushrooms, which combined into this simple, but totally satisfying dish. It is incredibly easy and quick to prepare, nevertheless, the result is quite exquisite and comforting, with a rich nutty flavour, and last but not least, it’s vegetarian.
Of course, you can substitute the porcini mushrooms with wild mushrooms, if you wish so and most importantly if you feel comfortable with them, in which case we feel the result will be equally satisfying. I also believe that homemade pasta will make this dish even better, so whoever tries it with Pasta Fresca, please don’t forget to let me know about the result. I used the regular, readymade dried pasta, and think that if you need to keep it quick, it is absolutely ok.
Prep and cooking time: 20-25 minutes
250g porcini mushrooms*
150-200g semi-cooked chestnuts, in small pieces**
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp butter
a handful of fresh sage leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g dried tagliatelle
Parmesan cheese (freshly shaved or grated)
* For this recipe I used frozen porcini mushrooms, already cut into pieces, so I simply used them at the same time and in the same way as I would do with the fresh mushrooms. If you have whole frozen mushrooms, all you need to do is partially thaw them first and then cut them as you wish.
** If you use fresh chestnuts, you need to cook them first (to see how click here) for this recipe boiling is recommended. Chop the pre-cooked chestnuts and add to mushrooms by the end of the cooking, together with garlic and sage.
Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan over medium heat and gently add porcini mushrooms right from the freezer. Frozen porcini contain a good quantity of liquid, which they will release in the first few minutes of cooking. When this happens add chopped semi-cooked chestnuts – this way they’ll cook in the mushroom liquid for more flavour.
Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, add the chopped garlic and sage leaves. Flavour with salt and freshly ground pepper and give the mixture a nice stir. Cook for 4-5 more minutes, until the mix is almost dry and mushrooms and chestnuts are soft and tender. Be careful not to let them dry too much.
Meanwhile prepare the pasta in lots of boiling salted water, according to the instructions on the package. Drain and add the tagliatelle to the mushrooms chestnuts mixture, together with the remaining butter. Toss everything well in the pan.
Serve immediately with some grated or shaved Parmesan on top.
Inspired by Sean’s Fresh Tagliatelle.