I love harvesting and eating Chanterelles mushrooms!
In fact, Chanterelles would be part of my last supper if I knew the exact date ahead of time!
My culinary training and mentors steered me this way. I remember cleaning these golden treasures during my youth for one of my chefs, picking out pine needles and enjoying every second of it. I was always amazed at how beautiful the color was and how these didn’t draw bugs as other varieties seemed too. They are easy to find in the woods as well, their beautiful colors lighting up areas like gold!
People ask me what to do with them? Whatever makes you happy, I say! They hold up well to all methods of cooking as their earthy, meaty texture and flavor seem to work with whatever I have done with them.
This Month’s Recipe
This month’s chanterelles recipe is one of our family’s favorite methods to cook these delightful mushrooms. I always keep some pantry items in house so when time is short I can still make a great meal. The Pecorino Romano and Garofolo Spaghetti both come from Costco. The Guanciale or Pancetta I buy from Goose the Market in Indianapolis but slab bacon can also be substituted.
This recipe might sound like a lot to do at once but once you get the steps down, it is so easy you’ll amaze everyone; while the water is getting hot, render the Guinciale, cook the mushrooms then crack the eggs and mix it with cheese and lemon juice while the spaghetti is cooking.
We often make enough for more than one meal as it reheats well the next day with a little water added. My wife often makes it her lunch at work.
With all the rain of late, it’s time to get out and enjoy these tasty yet little-known mushrooms!
Pasta Alla Carbonara with Chanterelles (serves 4)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 7 ounces fresh shredded Percorino Romano cheese plus more for topping. (This cheese is from sheep’s milk and has a saltier profile than Parmesan)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 pound golden chanterelles, washed and cut into 1/8” thick slices
- 7 ounces guinciale or pancetta 1/4” dice. The dicing allows the pork to cook more evenly and adds more little bits of goodness throughout.
- Kosher salt to taste(Tip- the pasta water should taste like light sea water to season the pasta as it absorbs the salt)
- 1 pound high quality spaghetti
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Bring 1.25 gallons water to boil and season with kosher salt to light sea water taste.
- Meanwhile, place a 14-inch skillet over low heat. Add oil, then add Guinciale and cook until it’s slightly crisp as the fat renders off. Remove Guinciale with slotted spoon.
- Add mushrooms and cook just until they softened. Turn off heat and add Guinciale back in.
- Add spaghetti to pasta water and stir fully. Cook until al dente (still slightly firm inside and not mushy but remember it continues to cook once out of water)
- Crack eggs into bowl, whisk smooth then add 7 ounces of cheese and lemon juice. Mix fully and set aside.
- When pasta is almost done rewarm mushrooms and bacon slightly. Before draining pasta remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Add 1/2 of it to eggs and mix fully.
- Add remaining water to mushroom mix. Add pasta to skillet and toss to fully coat pasta; add egg mixture to skillet and toss with tongs to fully coat spaghetti with eggs, cheese and mushrooms. The heat left from the spaghetti will cook the eggs into a beautiful sauce consistency, I promise! Season generously with fresh ground black pepper and toss.
To serve, mix and place into pasta bowls, top with more Romano cheese and pepper if desired and serve
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