Friday, February 17, 2012

Farfalle with Wild Mushrooms and Crème Fraîche

(Part of a weekly series by a group of bloggers, featuring Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers in Food - see end of post for list of bloggers participating & their blogs)

This week we're shining the spotlight on Delia Smith at #35 on the list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food. For someone who is Britain's best selling cookbook author and has been teaching the nation to cook since the 1970s, Delia doesn't evoke the kind of recognition or awe one would assume came with those accolades. That could also be because she has humble roots in the world of cooking and appeals to cooks all across the board. She's not one of your exuberant chefs that display complicated or fancy techniques. She's more down-to-earth, working her way through the kitchen in a laid-back manner, teaching you the basics and simple techniques in cooking. That has obviously endeared her to the larger population.

Critics sometimes call her dull, lacking in passion while working with her ingredients but, who are we kidding - she's sold 21 million copies of her cook books. She's had no formal training in culinary school. She started out enthusiastically cooking for her boyfriend when she was a young girl. I guess she truly believed the phrase - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach - even though they eventually didn't stay together. But, that was the beginning of her journey with food. She started working in the kitchen of a restaurant, doing the dishes, slowly working her way up to waitressing and then even cooking. She landed a food writer's role at The Daily Mirror's new magazine in 1969 and was on her own cooking show by the early 70s. Cook books followed and slowly she was educating the whole nation on British cooking. You can read an exhaustive biography of hers in an article by The Independent and also pore through tons of her recipes on her website, Delia Online.
I picked a pasta recipe because it is both simple and unassuming like her but, incredibly delicious in taste. The husband and I ate this along with baked meatballs in a white wine sauce and it was one of the most perfect meals! The crème fraîche really makes the difference here and lends such a delicate, creamy touch to the pasta. I love mushrooms in any shape or form, so having them in the dish was just the perfect combination for me. You should really try this, it's simple and easy to make. Bon Appetit!


Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Crème Fraîche by Delia Smith

Ingredients and instructions:

  • 1 lb 2 oz penne rigate (I used farfalle) 
  • 1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms (flat, chestnut, shiitake or mixed wild mushrooms, for example), finely chopped 
  • ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms 
  • 9 fl oz (250 ml) crème fraîche (If you don't have this, you could substitute with 3/4 measure sour cream and 1/4 measure heavy cream - still tastes divine) 
  • 3 tablespoons milk 
  • 4 tablespoons 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 
  • 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.



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Here's a list of the other bloggers participating in this series. Do go over to their blogs to see what yummy dishes they've whipped up. If you'd like to join the group, please get in touch with Mary of One Perfect Bite.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast [] Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed [] Susan - The Spice Garden [] Heather - girlichef [] Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney [] Jeanette - Healthy Living [] Mary - One Perfect Bite [] Kathleen - Bake Away with Me [] Sue - The View from Great Island [] Barbara - Movable Feasts [] Linda A - There and Back Again [] Nancy - Picadillo [] Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits [] Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen [] Annie - Most Lovely Things [] Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook [] Alyce - More Time at the Table [] Amrita -Beetles Kitchen Escapades


42 comments:

  1. This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Emily! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  2. This is so RIGHT up my alley.

    Plus, your pictures make me want to lick the screen!

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    1. LOL Jen, you have full permission to do so! I'm so honored! :D

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  3. Looks gorgeous! I have been wanting to make my own creme fraiche for a while now, but have been too lazy. And I don't know where to source sour cream in Mumbai. Will just have to try and make my own! And nutmeg and balsamic sound like a very intersting combination indeed. Now I'm hungry.

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    1. Ooooo let me know if you ever make your own creme fraiche, I wanna learn too! I've heard another good substitute for it is also greek yoghurt, so maybe you could try mixing really thick curds mixed with some heavy cream. I should try that one day.

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  4. This looks so delish. I love pasta and mushroom cream sauce. thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're most welcome, Andrea! So glad you stopped by! :D

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  5. Your recipes are always so fantastic and you are a wonderfully sweet and friendly blogger – Here is an award to show you my appreciation :)
    http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/combination-chocolate-y-celebrations/

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Yay! My very first award! You're the best and a total sweetheart, Uru! I'm thrilled to accept :D

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  6. What a great dish with mushrooms! Pictures are so nice!

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  7. Love this recipe, Amrita. That little touch of balsamic vinegar sounds good...

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! The balsamic vinegar does add a lovely touch to it.

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  8. This is a gorgeous dish, and your photos are fabulous. I love the balsamic vinegar and nutmeg, that sounds great. I will try creme fraiche next time I need cream in a pasta dish, too. Nice post!
    ps I'm having a lot of trouble with the new 'prove you're not a robot' spam blocker...they're really hard to decipher! Just sayin...

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Sue! Yep, the balsamic vinegar and nutmeg are a total winner in this! The creme fraiche base was a delightful change to me so I was a happy camper :)

      Sorry about the spam blocker, I had no idea it was there...I'll email you about that!

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  9. This sounds awesome. I adore the meatiness of mushrooms in any pasta dish. I'm definitely going to have to give this one a try!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I absolutely agree on the mushrooms! :)

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  10. What a fabulous recipe. It sounds quite un-Delia like :-). I love the use of dried mushrooms here. Thay take flavor to a whole nother level. It was a great choice for our fabulous 50. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Hahahah I guess it's one of those dishes she was experimenting with and I'm glad she got it right because it's delicious! I'm just discovering the magic of dried mushrooms and I'm loving it so far!

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  11. Oh my gosh, does that ever sound tasty! I love porcini mushrooms. Good choice!

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    1. Thanks, Mireya! I love all kinds of mushrooms, I'll even eat them everyday! Hahah

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  12. This is my kind of recipe ... pasta with not TOO much decadence. On my Weight Watcher's quest, pasta is always something that is difficult to get without blowing the top off your day's 'points'. That Delia was on to something here! Thank goodness!

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    1. LOL glad Delia's helping you stick to your WW program and enjoy foods you love ;) I've wanted to try WW for the longest time and never got down to it. One day I will!

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  13. Oh my goodness! Sometimes I think I am really Italian because I love pasta so much - this one just got a place in my recipe list. Looks fabulous!

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    1. Hahaha I'm pseudo-Italian too ;) I hope you love this dish when you make it! :D

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  14. Your pictures are gorgeous and the pasta looks delicious!! Nice meeting you at food buzz.. =)

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    1. Thanks so much for the compliments and for stopping by! I'm glad to have met you on Foodbuzz too! Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better :D

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  15. This does look like a winner of a pasta dish. Your photo is very enticing! Nice to learn about Delia-I like down to earth cooks because they give you kind of a comfort level since you can relate to them better than some fancy chef. Great post and happy Monday!

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    1. I agree, Tina...I love down to earth cooks too :D Happy Monday to you too!

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  16. Thanks for the friend request on Foodbuzz!
    I buzzed ya and joined your google friend connect circle :)

    Happy cooking!
    --Shelley (spiceblogger)

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    1. Hey Shelley, thanks so much for joining my blog and stopping by! :D Looking forward to visiting yours more often too!

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  17. Pasta + mushrooms + creme fraiche = bliss. Love everything here and will plan on it making its way to my table. I am already savoring it.

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    1. It really is a wonderful dish and you won't be disappointed :)

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  18. Shallots, mushrooms, nutmeg, creme fraiche, this pasta dish sounds wonderful. I did not know of Delia until this week, but so many wonderful and fairly simple recipes.
    annie

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    1. It really is wonderful, Annie. And I didn't know Delia before this as well but, I'm so glad I learnt about her because she really does have lovely dishes on her website :)

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  19. this looks so incredibly delicious.. i loveeeeee mushrooms and with cream, it's heaven! gorgeous pics.

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    1. Thank you, Honey! Mushrooms and cream are one of the most divine combinations in my books :P

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  20. Wow I remember watching Delia when I was a kid, maybe she's responsible for my love of all things food, hmm? Thanks for stopping by Foodness Gracious and your kind comments :)
    Take care...

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    1. Gerry, you're one of the few people I know who've heard of Delia. And to grow up watching her? I'm sure that did wonders for your love of food :D

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  21. That farfalle looks absolutely amazing--that is my idea of a great weeknight dinner!

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    1. Totally! It's so simple that you can whip this up in a jiffy!

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