Pappardelle with Ceps

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Pappardelle come from Tuscany and are broad hand-cut noodles traditionally served con lepre, with a rich and gamy hare sauce. I make them using my Rich Pasta Dough and like them better with fresh ceps (porcini) or with leftover coq au vin, the chicken shredded but with the usual garnish of bacon and button onions and mushrooms. You can also use a meat sauce from a daube of beef.

If ceps are not available - or are just too expensive - then you can use a mixture of dried ceps and sliced field mushrooms to good effect Whatever sauce you use, make sure there is at least 3 times the amount of pappardelle as there is sauce - pasta dishes must never become stews with noodles.

Ingredients

  • 300g/10½ oz fresh ceps, or 55g/2 oz dried ceps and 200 g/7 oz field mushrooms
  • 300g/10 ½ oz Rich Pasta Dough
  • 1 garlic clove
  • small bunch of chives
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g/1 oz butter
  • 200ml/7 fl oz double cream
  • semolina flour, for dusting
  • large chunk of Reggiano Parmesan cheese, to serve

Utensils

  • large bowl
  • pasta machine
  • pastry wheel, pasta cutter or small sharp knife
  • large saucepan
  • large heavy-based frying pan
  • colander
  • grater

Method

Mise en Place

To prepare the mushrooms: for fresh ceps or field mushrooms, detach the stalks and cut off and discard the earthy ends. Wipe the caps with a damp cloth, but do not wash or immerse in water - which they absorb like sponges. Peel the stalks, but not the caps, and slice both thinly • To prepare dried mushrooms: soak them in 300ml/½pt of warm water for half an hour. Then strain and rinse to get rid of tenacious grit. (The soaking liquid can be strained and used in a stock.)

To prepare the pasta: make the pasta dough as described. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each through the pasta machine, following the manufacturer’s instructions and finishing on the narrowest setting. Using a pastry wheel, pasta cutter or a small sharp knife, cut the dough into wide strips about 10cm / 4in long by 2.5cm/1in wide. They should not be absolutely uniform - you want them to look home-made. Pile the noodles loosely on a surface that has been lightly dusted with semolina flour. If you are not using the pappardelle immediately, arrange them on a cake rack to dry. Heat a large pan of lightly salted water to boil the pasta.

Peel, smash and chop the garlic • Snip or cut the chives into 5mm/¼in lengths.

Cooking

Put the oil and butter in the frying pan over a moderate heat and sauté the mushrooms in it until brown (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, season well and stir in the cream. Lower the heat and leave to simmer and thicken over a low heat for a few minutes until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

When the pan of water is boiling rapidly, add the pasta. Bring the water back to a fast boil and cook the pasta for 2 minutes.

Using the colander, immediately drain the pasta. Add to the sauce in the frying pan and toss to coat evenly, then simmer gently for 1 minute.

Serving

Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, scatter with the chives and serve at once. Pass the block of cheese with the grater at the table.

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