Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles

17
16

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Chanterelle mushrooms aren’t in season long, and they usually cost a mint when you can find ’em. In spite of that, I can’t resist buying a handful whenever I can get my paws on them.

They’ve got such a fantastic flavor—and when you infuse it into melted butter, half a dozen mushrooms goes a long way. This is an elegant and luxurious appetizer for about four, or main course for two.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Simply cook the butter for a minute or two until it’s light brown and has developed a wonderful nutty flavor and aroma. Then drop the mushrooms in, and cook them just until they’re tender, about 5 minutes.

If you don’t have chanterelles, lobster mushrooms are a good substitution.

What are Chanterelle mushrooms and how do you cook them?


Good question. Chanterelles are trumpet-shaped mushrooms that are a yellowish orange.

Like all mushrooms, they’ll likely be a little dirty when you buy them. To clean them, gently wipe them off with a damp cloth. (You can see specs of dirt clinging to the caps of some of mine.)

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

While you can usually find chanterelles dried year round, they’re generally only in season for a few weeks in the fall (they’re not widely cultivated). Choose mushrooms that are nice and plump. Avoid mushrooms that feel dry or look withered (stating the obvious, I know).

Chanterelle mushrooms have a delicate, nutty flavor. The most important thing to know about them is that they toughen if you overcook them.

Brown butter, a.k.a. beurre noisette

Brown butter is just what it sounds like: Butter that’s been cooked over low heat until it has a light hazelnut brown color and an irresistible, nutty aroma. It’s also known as beurre noisette (noisette = “hazelnut” in French).

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Basically, when butter melts, it separates into liquid butterfat and milk solids. The solids brown. If you poured off the liquid, you’d essentially have ghee, or clarified butter.

Beurre noisette is a wonderful, simple sauce for pasta or cooked veggies. It’s also one of the trademark components in madeleine cookies.

How to pick your pasta

For most pasta dishes, shape matters—and largely depends on what kind of sauce you’re using. For this dish, choose a pasta with lots of nooks and crannies to help trap all that beautiful brown butter.

I used a bag of fiori-like noodles that I’ve had in my pantry for a while. It’s going to sound silly, but since it’s such a frilly little noodle, I was waiting to use it in a fancier dish. Campanelles would work well, too.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles

1/2 lb. pasta
1/4 lb. fresh chanterelle mushrooms
3/4 stick of butter
kosher salt

Serves about 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as a main

Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until it’s done to your liking. Drain it well.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Do this first. Don’t start cooking the sauce until the pasta is done, because it comes together really quickly (and you don’t want to overcook those expensive mushrooms).

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Prep the chanterelle mushrooms

When your pasta is draining, grab your mushrooms. Wipe off the dirt that you see with a clean, damp cloth.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Nip off the tips of the stems with a sharp knife and discard. Then, depending on how large your chanterelles are, cut them in half, or even in quarters.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

You want to leave the pieces fairly large, as they are the star of the dish.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

How to make the brown butter

Put the butter in a medium-sized pan on the stove over low heat. Add the butter. Cook over low heat until the butter is completely melted, and is frothy and light brown.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

You want it to look about like this. Don’t let it get too much darker, because it’s going to continue cooking when you add the mushrooms in.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Also, your kitchen should smell amazing right about now. I swear, if I could bottle the smell, I would.

Finish the sauce with the mushrooms

When your butter is brown, add the mushrooms to the pan. Sprinkle on a little kosher salt to taste. Toss to combine.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Raise the heat to medium, and cook for just about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

After about 5 minutes, spear one with a fork. It should be tender and feel cooked, but not rubbery. Give it a nibble to be sure.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Toss the pasta in the sauce

Put the cooked, drained pasta in a large bowl. Pour the contents of your pan over the pasta.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Toss to coat well. Give the pasta a taste, and correct the seasoning as needed with a little kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, if you like.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Serve immediately.

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta with Brown Butter & Chanterelles at The Hungry Mouse

SHARE
Previous articleSunday Pot Roast (a.k.a. Beast in a Pot)
Next article3 Warm & Toasty Fall Cocktails
Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

17 COMMENTS

    • Oh gosh, Jessie, try the brown butter! It will totally knock your socks off. I swear, I’d roll around in it if I could. (Did I just say that out loud?) 😀

      +Jessie

  1. Chantrelles are amazing, used to pick them wild in a park near my in-laws house and fill bags full of them. Saute in butter with a little S&P and divine, oh…and flamed with brandy too…then some H. cream to finish….oh my!

    Thanks,
    CCR =:~)

  2. OK this will totally confuse my husband. Yesterday he made his first Bechamel sauce with me calling out the directions from the office.it was excellent and he added an assortment of mushrooms.
    This looks so good but I better make it. 🙂

  3. That looks SO GOOD! Which is weird for me to say, since I am not a mushroom person- although I guess it’s possible I’ve just never had mushrooms done right.

  4. Please tell me the name of that macaroni shape, they look amazing for holding sauce. They are NOT Fiori or Campanelli from Barrilla. We only eat that brand and always stock both of those often shapes.

  5. I wouldn’t do this with chanterelles but if you are using a “lesser” mushroom toss a couple fresh sage leaves in with the butter to flavour it while it browns… makes an amazing sauce. I do brown butter, sage and portobello mushrooms cut into strips. I don’t eat a lot of pasta but I’ll toss this sauce over some spaghetti squash or roasted acorn squash instead.

LEAVE A REPLY