Creamy mushroom pasta an ideal pairing for pinot

Give this dish a try when you’re craving a hearty, savory meal.|

Our wine of the week, Paul Mathew Vineyards, 2018 Bohemian Vineyard, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($65), is a gentle and pretty wine with a translucent glow in the glass and a delightful delicacy on the palate. Aromas include a kiss of rose petals and the tangy scent of just-cut rhubarb.

On the palate, that rhubarb aroma resolves into a suggestion of rhubarb itself, along with flavors of Queen Anne cherries, summer strawberries and the slightest suggestion of vanilla. Acidity is crisp, bright and refreshing.

These qualities join to create a quaffer that opens its arms generously to a wide variety of foods, from delicate seafood and braised vegetables such as fennel and radicchio to rare duck breast and lamb. It is excellent as an aperitif but can carry a meal from beginning to end. Creamy polenta with olio nuovo and Gorgonzola cheese, Romanesco broccoli braised in butter and crème fraîche and spaghetti carbonara are all excellent companions.

For today’s recipe, I’m inspired by the bounty of fresh black chanterelles just now showing up at farmers markets. If you don’t feel like preparing a full meal, saute some chanterelles in butter and serve on toasted hearth bread slathered with crème fraîche.

For a more complete meal, give this dish a try. It’s best when made with wild shrimp from the Gulf Coast, available locally at Santa Rosa Seafood and several other markets.

Black Chanterelles and Shrimp with Pasta and Crème Fraîche

Makes 2 servings

5-6 ounces dried fettuccini or pappardelle

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons local, organic butter

1 small shallot, minced

4 ounces black chanterelles or maitake mushrooms, broken into pieces

½ cup dry white wine

6 to 8 large Gulf shrimp, heads and legs removed

¼ cup crème fraîche

Black pepper in a mill

1 tablespoon snipped, fresh chives

Fill a large pot half full with water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, stir in the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta but do not rinse it.

While the pasta cooks, put 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saute pan set over medium heat and cook slowly until the butter melts, begins to brown and gives off a nutty aroma similar to hazelnuts; don’t let it smoke or burn.

Remove from the heat for about 2 minutes. Return to medium-low heat, add the shallot and saute until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until wilted; time will vary depending on the type of mushroom. Season with salt, increase the heat to high, add the white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced to just a tablespoon or 2.

Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan and add the shrimp. Saute the shrimp for 1 minute, turn and saute until opaque, about 90 seconds more. Do not overcook the shrimp.

Working quickly, divide the pasta between pasta bowls or plates. Top both portions with shrimp.

Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the crème fraîche, move the mushrooms to the center of the pan and simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until heated through and thickened a bit. Season with black pepper, taste and correct for salt.

Spoon the sauce and mushrooms over the shrimp and pasta, sprinkle with chives and enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The New Cook’s Tour of Sonoma.” Email her at

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