This morning, with the weather locally shifting from damp autumnal to Indian summer, I went foraging. Driving into town, I’d spotted a pasture two minutes from home dotted with field mushrooms, so I stopped and quickly gathered half a kilo of very fresh fungus.
Mushrooms sauted with pancetta or bacon, onion and garlic is a universal classic. What makes this version Bolognese is the finishing touches – balsamic vinegar and grated parmesan. I would serve it on crostini – griddled bread – smeared with olive oil.
|Or you could use streaky bacon|
One tip: fry the mushrooms hard so that they begin to caramelise. You don’t want mushy soft funghi for this dish. All the ingredients should remain distinct – this is cooking alla italiana. If you like, you could finish off the dish with a couple of tablespoons of thick cream.
Ingredients for 4
150g pancetta or bacon
4tbl olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 slices sour dough bread
350g wild mushrooms
2tbl balsamic vinegar
2tbl double or thick cream (optional)
4tbl finely chopped parsley
4tbl finely grated parmesan
salt and pepper
1. Cut the pancetta or bacon into slivers or tiny cubes and fry rapidly in half the olive oil so they become crunchy. Remove and set aside.
2. Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry it in the pancetta or bacon fat. Remove and set aside.
3. Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan, brush both sides of the bread with the remaining olive oil, and toast on both sides until crisp.
4. Clean with a damp cloth the mushrooms and coarsely slice, discarding damaged and muddy parts.
5. Quickly sauté the mushrooms until they begin to brown, then add back the onion and garlic and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt if necessary. If you are using cream, this is the moment to stir it in.
6. Put a generous spoonful of the mushrooms onto each slice of toast, sprinkle with the crunchy bacon, the parsley and the parmesan.