160 g whole wheat linguine or spaghetti
300 g (10 oz) mixed mushrooms or cremini* mushrooms
20 g (7 oz) hazelnuts, blanched (about 15 nuts)
1 garlic clove, large
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped (5 – 6 leaves)
1 ½ tbsp chives, chopped
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
½ tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve parmesan cheese, grated
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining. Meanwhile, quickly rinse the mushrooms under cold water and immediately pat them dry with paper towels to stop them absorbing water, then slice roughly and set aside. Chop the hazel nuts and toast them in a large non-stick skillet for 1 – 2 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove the nuts and set aside. Chop the garlic clove finely, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and sauté for 1 minute, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 -7 minutes. Stir in the sage, half of the hazel nuts, the drained pasta and a ladleful of the reserved pasta cooking water. Gently toss over low heat for 2 minutes, adding more of the pasta water as necessary. Stir in the parmesan, taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to individual plates, sprinkle over the remaining hazel nuts and the chopped chives. Serve with additional parmesan on the side.
Cremini mushrooms are the brown, original variety of the white button (champignon) mushrooms and go under many different names: Swiss brown, Roman brown, chestnut, Italian (brown), baby-bella, etc. As compared to the white version, the cremini have a lower water content and don’t lose as much of their volume when cooked. They have a more defined flavour and a somewhat higher nutritional value than their white cousins. Raw cremini mushrooms are a rich source of B vitamins, in particular riboflavin (B2), providing 42% of the RDA per 100 g (3.5 oz), niacin (B3) 25% and pantothenic acid (B5) 30%, as well as high levels of selenium 37% and copper 25%. They are also a moderate source of phosphorus, zinc and potassium. The vitamin D content is minimal in cultivated cremini and champignon mushrooms, but with a similar reaction in humans, they develop large quantities of this vitamin when exposed to sunlight, even after harvest. To increase your mushrooms vitamin D level, all you need to do is to spread them on a plate and expose them to direct sunlight for a couple of hours, then move them to a shady place for another hour to complete the photochemical process.