Friday, September 13, 2013

seasonal: chanterelle and goat cheese trottelloni

When it comes to seasonal food, chanterelles for me are the most elusive. You can import fresh asparagus from Peru and pay a shitload of money, you can grow tomatoes all year long in glasshouses (and complain about their lack of flavour), but you can only get fresh chanterelles for these few weeks a year.

I have a few good recipes for stuff more elaborate than scrambled eggs with chanterelles (although that's actually good enough for me) and perhaps I'll manage to share them with you before the season is over, this is one of them. When it comes to chanterelles, simplicity is key, less is more - you wouldn't want to kill their flavour with too many ingredients. So, here we go.

pasta dough (I know this is not the classic italian recipe, it's more of a Polish dumpling dough recipe - you can use your favourite, I just got used to this one):

  • 2 cups of flour (the thinner the better)
  • salt
  • 1 large free-range egg (if you don't have those - buy some and stop buying other ones right this instant)
  • a cup of water (you may not use all of it, remember)

Sieve the flour to a large bowl, add salt and the egg - knead. Gradually add small amounts of water and knead further, until the dough is smooth, without any dry lumps. If you added too much water and the dough it too sticky, add some flour and knead again. Put the dough in a plastic bag and in the refrigerator - believe me, it improves the doughs quality when it comes to the next steps.

filling:

  • cleaned chanterelles
  • shallots
  • butter
  • soft goat cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Sorry for not giving you exact measurements, but there's just no way to do this, you have to go with your gut here. But, let's say for a medium bowl of chanterelles (while they're still in one piece) I'd take 2-3 challots and ca. 100g goat cheese.

Chop the chanterelles and the shallots rather finely. Melt some butter on a pan, according to your preference - I always use a lot of butter, but I understand people who don't. When the butter melts fry the challots on medium heat until they're translucent, salt them and add the chopped chanterelles - fry them for a little while, until they're a bit softer. Turn off the heat and add the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper, stirr until it all combines and put it aside into a bowl to let it cool down. Cold filling, especially butter-based, is much easier to use than warm one.

Now, off to occupational therapy. It's good to have someone to help you and/or a few episodes of something good to watch. This will take you some time.

Cut away a fist sized piece of dough, leave the rest in the fridge. Sprinkle the table with flour, rub some on your rolling pin and roll out the dough as thinly as you can. Thick dough overwhelms the filling and throws off the texture balance of the dish. Using something like a espresso cup or larger vodka glass or similar in diameter (I'd say about 4-5cm?) cut out circles of dough. Prepare some cloths and a tray spirinkled with flour to put the ready dumplings on. Now, to the folding.

I called this shape trottelloni (from German Trottel - fool, that's my sense of humour right there), because first of all, it's so easy a fool can do it and, most of all, I couldn't find a proper Italian name for it - went through all the possible shapes of stuffed pasta and didn't find it. If you know a proper name - please share.

So, it goes like this - with an espresso spoon, put some filling in the middle of the circle, fold it in half and press the edges together. Then take the corners and, bending the dumpling, press them together too, just as you can see on the picture with my messily-manicured fingers. Repeat until you run out of dough and filling.

If you run of dough first, you can either make more, or freeze the remaining filling for later. If you run out of filling, roll out the remaining dough, sprinkle generously with flour and leave to dry. When dried, roll it into, well, a roll and slice thinly - you now have some homemade pasta you can store for later.

Back to the trottelloni. Get some salted water boiling, throw the trottelloni in and boil until they all float to the top and a few moments more. Serve with sage-butter. Enjoy.

If you made more than you can eat, you can easily freeze them (before cooking, clearly) - first on the tray you used to put them aside, and when they're already frozen you can put them in a freezing bag - they shouldn't stick together anymore.