I will freely admit, I am usually one of those people who clings onto the after-summer glow of early October with all their might, but it’s time to face facts; the nights are beginning to draw in, meaning there is really no better time than now to embrace dishes that offer a warm hug and some welcome comfort. Autumn produce is beginning to shine as we speak, so I decided to come up with a quick and easy recipe to help you all get through the week and offer the perfect antidote for things to come. Secretly, there’s always a small part of me that gets a little excited about those days when it’s a bit cold and grey outside and you don’t have to feel guilt about staying in. That’s when I really love to spend time in the kitchen creating something irresistible – chopping fresh herbs and vegetables to simmer slowly in a pot on the stove top or sifting flours and gently kneading a dough for bread or pastry. It’s also a natural time for entertaining – as much as I love heading out to restaurants, I often can’t go past a cosy night in with a delicious home-cooked meal and a few of my favourite people. Autumn…I’m ready for you (with a little bit of help from our friend below!)
Shitake Mushroom, Burnt Butter & Pancetta Spaghetti with Toasted Pine Nuts, Crispy Sage & Thyme
Mushroom season is traditionally between late summer and the first frost so now is the time to get your fill. Seek out more unusual varieties in specialist food markets and greengrocers if you wish – but you’ll find most supermarkets now stock my suggestions below.
50g butter, roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves
100g mushrooms, such as shitake, chanterelle and oyster (larger mushrooms sliced)
100g cubetti di pancetta (or you can use bacon lardons)
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a small handful of fresh sage leaves
a good squeeze of lemon juice
25g parmesan, shaved (optional)
1. Cook the spaghetti in a pan of salted boiling water for 6–8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the butter, garlic and pancetta, and cook for 1 minute or until the butter starts to foam.
3. Add the mushroom, pine nuts, thyme and sage with some salt and pepper, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until the mushrooms are just tender and the pancetta and sage are crisp. Add the lemon juice and gently toss to coat.
4. Divide the pasta between bowls or plates. Top with the mushroom, thyme and burnt butter sauce, and sprinkle with pepper and parmesan if you wish to serve.
(if you wish to make this into a delicious vegetarian dish, simply omit the pancetta)
Recipe, styling & photography: Natalie Seldon (follow me on instagram @prettyediblestylist)