If you achieve the same alchemy I did, this meal will make you weep with joy. Prep and cooking were made even easier by the right equipment -- a razor-sharp ceramic knife (birthday gift), a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (inherited), and an Italian pasta pot (the kind with the strainer inside the pot, gift from my brother when he lived in Vicenza). An efficient setup means less to clean up afterward -- but anyone you invite to eat this will be in your thrall, so you can always command them to do the dishes.
Chanterelle Cream Sauce Pasta, plus Collards With Bacon Drippings
Sauce adapted from Earthy.com's Creamy Chanterelle Sauce recipe
- 1 bunch collard greens, washed and cut horizontally across rib into 1/2 inch wide ribbons
- 3 strips thick-sliced bacon
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 to 1 pound fresh Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced (leave small ones whole)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 lb farfalle or other dried pasta
- In a heavy skillet, cook bacon low and slow until crispy but not burnt. Turn off heat.
- Set bacon aside on grease-absorbing substrate of choice.
- Leave skillet with bacon grease and drippings on stove. You'll come back to it.
- Start heating pasta water.
- Melt the butter in a separate, non-bacony skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and the onion to the skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown and most of the liquid has reduced (~10 minutes).
- Add dried pasta to boiling pasta water.
- Add the cream and brandy to the mushrooms, then whisk in the chicken stock.
- Boil this mixture until thickened almost to a sauce consistency, about 8 minutes.
- Strain cooked pasta and place in large serving bowl. If you cooked it in an Italian pasta pot, put the strainer back in the water and keep it on simmer. If not, bring another pasta-pot sized batch of water to boil.
- Toss pasta with cream sauce. Season to taste with salt and freshly-ground pepper.
- Crumble bacon and sprinkle over top of pasta, followed by parsley.
- Turn heat for bacon-grease-and-drippings-holding skillet back on, to medium
- Put collards in boiling water to blanch (30 seconds at most)
- Strain collards, place in bacon-drippings skillet and toss, scraping pan to lightly coat with bacon bits and drippings (you might need to remove some of the grease beforehand).
- Serve pasta with collards on the side, wearing a self-satisfied grin.