With the arrival of cooler weather, I tend to need more comforting food to help psych me up for the winter ahead. This heart-warming, if not a little indulgent, creamy pasta dish is just what the doctor ordered! It uses what I feel is an under-rated and under-utilised herb - tarragon. This goes especially well with the mushroom and leeks in the dish and lifts and transforms it into something stunning. With mushrooms still in season, it’s good to make plenty of use of them before prices rise. I see tomatoes have already done the winter leap and are now past the $5-a-kilo mark (sigh). Don’t despair, the change of season brings new and exciting vegetables to work with, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for some autumn goodies! Enjoy.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 15-20 MINS
SERVES: 4-5 PEOPLE
400g mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut longways in four then finely sliced
100ml white wine
250ml chicken stock
1/2 cup thickened cream
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
100g feta, crumbled (you could use shaved parmesan if you prefer)
400g (or 500g) pack fresh fettuccine or dried fettuccine
1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan to a medium-high heat and throw in the mushrooms. Fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown and most of the moisture has evaporated.
2. Add your garlic and leeks. Cook for a further 3-4 mins, until the leeks have softened, then add your wine. Stir until wine nearly evaporated and then pour in your stock.
3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the instructions and drain.
4. Simmer stock for a further 4-5 mins until reduced a little and add thickened cream. Simmer for 2 mins then taste and add required salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and add in 2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon.
5. Tip your cooked pasta into the mushroom sauce. Combine thoroughly.
6. Divide evenly amongst 4-5 plates. Sprinkle with remaining tarragon and crumbled feta (or shaved parmesan). Grind over some fresh black pepper and serve immediately. The dish goes nicely with some homemade garlic bread.