Autumn has arrived and so too has the cooler weather. It’s early morning: Essentials chef Megan Chalmers begins exploring the forests of her native Beechworth region in High Country Victoria. After a few hours of foraging, she brings home a collection of flavoursome wild mushrooms destine for her Chestnut Pappardelle recipe.
Chestnut Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms, Silverbeet, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pecorino
200g chestnut flour
300g 00 pasta flour
5 large free-range eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the mixture comes together to a coarse breadcrumb texture.
2. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth, soft pasta dough. Expect to knead the mixture for up to 10 minutes.
3. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out pasta dough to a thin, even consistency, aiming for about 2mm thickness. Note: Refer to your own pasta machine instructions and follow the required steps to create your pasta sheets.
5. Using a chef’s knife cut pasta sheets into broad flat ribbons. Lightly dust the ribbons with flour and rest on clean tea towels until needed.
Wild Mushroom Sauce
250g wild mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped (as a substitute you can use a mixture of commercially grown mushrooms)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup white wine
1¼ cups thickened cream
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
4 large silverbeet leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large heavy-based frying pan heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until soft and lightly brown in colour.
2. Add chopped garlic and silverbeet to the pan and stir through the sautéed mushrooms. Continue to cook for a further five minutes until the silverbeet has collapsed.
3. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
4. Next add the cream and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pappardelle and transfer to the pan of wild mushroom sauce. Add parsley and grated pecorino cheese and stir the pappardelle through the sauce until evenly coated. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.