Chestnut Mushroom Pasta
Serves 2/3 people as a main dish
250 gr sweet chestnut
200 gr shiitake mushrooms or a mushroom mix
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
100 gr bacon (or sausages of good quality with the skin removed)
1 tsp. fennel seeds
350 gr pasta (any hollow type will work)
150 ml dry white wine
125 ml sour cream
to taste pepper and salt
handful fresh parsley
Cut a cross in the bottom (non-shiny part) of the chestnuts and boil them for 10 minutes. Drain and let cool down until you can handle the temperature and peel them. Squash them with the side of a big knife and chop roughly. The result should feel a bit like cookie dough.
The sauce comes together pretty quickly so make sure you start boiling water for the pasta at the same time as start backing the mushrooms.
Chop the mushrooms roughly, dice the onion and slice the garlic. Heat up the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Drop in the mushrooms and stir. When the first sizzling is done add the onion, garlic, and thyme.
After 3 to 5 minutes the garlic should start to colour brown. This is the moment to add the bacon in small strips and the fennel seeds. Keep stirring occasionally.
At this point, you have about 15 minutes to go. Most dried pasta need about this much time so don’t forget to add it to the boiling water.
When the bacon is at the desired crisp pour in the wine and bring to a boil. The boiling needs to melt away all the small pieces of chestnut, binding into a sauce, you can help this by squishing the lumps while cooking. If you don’t have enough liquid use some of the cooking water from the pasta (the starches help binding as well) You should end up with a thick liquid. Turn off the fire and stir in the sour cream.
Bring to taste with pepper and salt. Serve on top of the pasta or mix everything in one pan. Top off with freshly chopped parsley and enjoy.