Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche

My recipe for Oven-baked Wild Mushroom Risotto (see Related Recipe below), was a huge hit, and since writing it I've discovered all the lovely concentrated mushroom flavour works superbly well with pasta, too. 

Because the pasta will be returned to the pan for one minute, don't forget to give it one minute less on the initial cooking time. Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from Bookhams

Serves 4-6

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche
 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) penne rigate
 1 lb (450 g) mixed fresh mushrooms (flat, chestnut, shiitake or mixed wild mushrooms, for example), finely chopped
 ½ oz (10 g) dried porcini mushrooms
 9 fl oz (250 ml) crème fraîche
 3 tablespoons milk
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
 lots of freshly grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), to serve (see recipe introduction)
 salt and freshly milled black pepper


First pop the porcini in a small bowl, then heat the milk, pour it over the mushrooms and leave them to soak for 30 minutes. Then heat the butter in a medium frying pan over a gentle heat, stir in the shallots and let them cook gently for 5 minutes.

Next, strain the porcini into a sieve lined with kitchen paper, reserving the soaking liquid, and squeeze the porcini dry. Then chop them finely and add them to the pan, along with the fresh mushrooms and the balsamic vinegar. 

Next, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Give it all a good stir, then cook gently, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated.

About 15 minutes before the mushrooms are ready, put the pasta on to cook (see How to Cook Perfect Pasta below). Then, 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, mix the crème fraîche into the mushrooms with the soaking liquid, and warm through. 

Drain the pasta in a colander, return it to the hot pan and quickly mix in the mushroom mixture, then place the pasta back on a gentle heat so it continues to cook for 1 more minute while it absorbs the sauce. 

Take it to the table in a hot serving bowl and hand the Parmesan round separately.

How to cook perfect pasta

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