Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Seasonal eating: tagliatelle with lemon, mushroom and herb sauce

This is a lovely fresh sauce that's a real favourite in my household in summer. Because we have the mushrooms coming out of the strawberry barrel at the moment and always have lots of fresh herbs near the kitchen door, it's an almost completely out-of-the-garden affair. Serves four generously with a side salad (in this case, of fresh baby salad leaves from the garden, carrots, radish and broad beans sauted in a little olive oil with green garlic stems). This is also fabulous with fresh pasta, but last night I was in need of a quick meal to feed some surprise guests.

Tagliatelle with lemon, mushroom and herb sauce

300 g tagliatelle or any other long pasta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (or use two whole baby green garlic heads, stems and all)
100 g mixed mushrooms (in this case, St George's, but try a mixture of shitake, oyster and enoki)
2 tbsp capers, preferably packed in salt
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon (approx. 1/4-1/3 cup)
10 baby plum tomatoes, halved (this is the cheat ingredient)
30 sage leaves
30 sprigs chervil (approx) - or substitute fresh tarragon
1 small handful lemon thyme
1 small handful Italian parsley
1/4 cup parmesan shavings

Bring water to boil in a large pot and cook the tagliatelle as per directions on the packet, until almost al dente but still a little firm on the tooth. Meanwhile, pick over the herbs so that they are reduced to individual but whole leaves. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes to soften and add the mushrooms. Fry for 1 minute more until they start to release their juices and add the capers, wine and lemon juice. Add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid has reduced by roughly half. Taste and adjust the seasonings - remember there will have been salt from the capers. Toss the drained pasta through the sauce until coated throughly, sprinkle the herbs and parmesan over the pasta and toss lightly to combine. Remove from the heat immediately. Garnish with a little more parmesan and a sprig or two of parsley.

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