In Italy there is a wonderful word . . . . Arrangiarsi.
Arrangiarsi is the skill of getting by on what is free around, something that the Italians are very good at. Throughout it’s chequered history Italy has always been struck by poverty, up until recent years some Italians were living in almost third world conditions but it was rare that anyone went hungry. Italians use what is on their doorsteps and one of the best examples of this is the Italian love of foraging. Delicious dishes can be made from things you may find in the woods or countryside, truffles, nuts, chestnuts, wild figs, boar, deer and even frogs and snails have their place in Italian cuisine, they are easy to find, abundant and free. One wild ingredient the Italians love is wild mushrooms, children are taught from an early age which mushrooms can be eaten and which should not.
We are lucky, we don’t need to risk our lives and try to identify our own foraged mushroom’s, we can pop to the local supermarket, farmers market, deli or even the internet and find and amazing array of fresh, farmed and dried wild mushrooms.
This recipe uses fresh wild mushrooms, you could use dried by rehydrating the dried mushrooms in water prior to cooking . . . but don’t forget to be like an Italian and keep the water to use as stock for your next mushroom risotto or soup.
300g wild mushrooms, sliced or whole depending on size
125ml dry white wine
30g unsalted butter
½ a lemon
320g fresh fettuccini (if you don’t have fresh or homemade just use packet but follow instructions when cooking)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan
(1). To make the sauce, take a knob of butter and melt in a pan over a medium heat.
(2). Add the mushrooms and sweat until slippery in texture.
(3). Add the wine, let it bubble away and reduce by half.
(4). Add the cream and stir together well, allow to simmer gently for a couple of minutes and let the cream absorb the mushrooms flavour.
(5). This may seem odd but trust me, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to your sauce. Lemon juice will bring out the earthy, rich mushroom taste of your sauce.
(6). Then add the chopped parsley.
(8). By now your pasta should almost be cooked, using a pair of tongues add the pasta to the sauce and toss, or stir, so the pasta is covered with the sauce.
(9). Leave for a moment to allow the pasta to take on as much flavour as possible. Check seasoning.
(10). Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.