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Wild Mushroom, Lemon & Thyme Pappardelle

Chef Jenny visited the Old Biscuit Mill recently and came across Cheryl Castelein's stall, Funki Fungi. There you'll find a bountiful display of wild mushrooms and her famous and rather addictive mushroom skewers. Cheryl gets her mushrooms from pine forest pickers in Mpumalanga and Natal Midlands and during the rainy seasons, she gets in freshly picked pine ring mushrooms, cep (porcini) and russula capensis from the Cape mountains.

Wild mushroom picking/foraging is becoming increasingly popular in the Western Cape. If you'd like to try your hand in foraging, read La Motte's interesting article all about the do's and don'ts for mushroom picking. Also check out Gary Goldman's website mushroomguru.co.za. This site is super useful for mushroom pickers. Here you will find info on edible, medicinal and poisonous mushrooms found in SA with pics. You can also upload pics of your mushrooms and ask Gary to identify them for you. Mushroom Guru also supplies wild mushrooms and even spawn to assist you in cultivating your own!

Jenny managed to get a few pine ring and russula capensis mushies and we decided to cook something with them. To enhance their earthy beautiful flavours, we opted for a simple pasta dish where we sauteed the mushrooms in garlic, lemon and thyme butter, tossed with silky freshly made pappardelle pasta and finished off with lemon zest. It was utterly delicious, a flavour explosion we couldn't get enough of! Do yourself a favour and get your hands on some wild mushrooms, it makes such a difference to your cooking!

Wild Mushroom, Lemon & Thyme Pappardelle 

Serves: 2

150 g fresh pappardelle or tagliatelle 
250 g assorted wild mushrooms (cep, russula capensis and pine rings), sliced
50 g butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T (15 ml) chopped thyme leaves
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper 
Coarse salt

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
Melt half of the butter until simmering, add the mushrooms and saute for a few seconds.
Add the remaining butter together with the garlic and thyme and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and heat through.
Drain the pasta and reserve 15 ml of cooking liquid.
Add the pasta, reserved liquid and lemon zest to the pan and toss until well combined. Season to taste. 
Serve immediately!

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