Comforting carbs for cold weather meals

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IF you’re not using this time to pack in all the carbs, how even are you coping with the cold weather? Any day can be a pasta day but it’s even more comforting in winter.

A great tip is to half and half mushrooms with mince, not only to make the dish go further, and pack in the umami, but for your good health too. While your thoughts will most likely turn to bold red wines, don’t overlook the MCC pairing option. Here are some recipes from the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.

Beef & mushroom bolognese (pictured above)

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled & chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled & chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, woody stalks removed
  • 250 g beef mince
  • 250 g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) sugar
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • freshly cooked pasta (like spaghetti), to serve
  • fresh basil leaves, for serving (optional)
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Method

  • Heat the oil in a medium pot, then add the onion and carrot. Fry over medium-high heat until soft but not brown yet. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. 
  • Add the mince and mushrooms and fry, breaking up lumps with your wooden spoon. Fry until the mixture starts to catch on the bottom – about 10-15 minutes, then add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, paprika and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours), stirring now and then. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot over freshly cooked pasta, scattered with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Umami Mushroom Rigatoni 

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 250g rigatoni pasta (or another similar short pasta)
  • 4 large portabello mushrooms 
  • 250g portabellini mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce 
  • ½ cup crème fraîche 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method

  • Cook rigatoni in boiling salted water, until al dente.
  • Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta.
  • While the pasta is cooking, scrape out the black gills from the underside of the portabellos with a teaspoon. Cut each portabello in half and then cut each half into four chunky wedges.
  • Slice portabellinis into quarters. 
  • Heat oil and butter in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
  • Add mushrooms and thyme. 
  • Cook mushrooms, tossing them often until just tender and golden brown.
  • Pour in the soy sauce and cook until absorbed. 
  • Turn the heat down.
  • Stir in the crème fraîche, salt, pepper, and a splash of pasta water.
  • Add cooked pasta and toss gently to coat in the mushroom sauce. 
  • Keep adding pasta water as needed to achieve a silky, shiny sauce. 
  • Serve pasta with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and extra freshly ground black pepper.

Mushroom Ragu Pappardelle

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1kg mixed mushrooms
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 1 x 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 250ml cream
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Salt & pepper
  • 500g pappardelle pasta
  • 4Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan & extra for serving
  • Fresh basil 

Method

  • Using a food processor, blitz two thirds of the mushrooms until they are very finely chopped. 
  • In a large dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook down until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook until caramelised. 
  • Add in the mushrooms and cook for at least 30 minutes. They will lose a lot of volume and moisture. Cook until all the water has evaporated and they begin to take on some colour. Deglaze with the white wine and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. 
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer. Finish with the cream. 
  • For the pappardelle pasta cook until al dente according to packet instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Drain pasta and then dot with knobs of butter. Sprinkle with parmesan and using the pasta water to create a silky sauce consistency mix everything together.  
  • Slice and sear the remaining mushrooms in a little olive oil until golden brown. Season. 
  • Just before serving combine the mushroom ragu, pappardelle and seared mushrooms. Garnish with fresh basil and some extra parmesan. 

Pair this recipe with Pierre Jourdan Brut MCC; its bright and concentrated citrus and apple flavours make the rich ragù and salty parmesan feel lighter in your mouth. Additionally, its minerality stands up to this very savoury and intensely flavoured dish. This wine has the acidity to break up the richness of the pasta and has the ripeness to compete with the very umami mushrooms. A perfect match for a rich dish this bubbly livens up the ragù and can transform it into a perfect summer pasta. 

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